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( 41 / .' / 1( I v/ 


4 i / /< 












BY DR. WM. A. ALCOrr, 





7 3 n. 6-7 





Entered, according to Act of Congresa, in tlie yenr 1849, 

By fowlers & WELLS, 

iu the Clerk's Office of the District Court for'tiie Soutiiern District o' New York. 


201 William st corner Frankfort, N. Y. 



The following volume embraces the testimony, direc* 
or indirect, of more than a hundred individuals — be- 
sides that of societies and communities — on the subject 
of vegetable diet. Most of this one hundred persons 
are, or were, persons of considerable distinction in soci- 
ety ; and more than fifty of them were either medical 
men, or such as have made physiology, hygiene, anat- 
omy, pathology, medicine, or surgery a leading or fa- 
vorite study. 

As I have written other works besides this — espe- 
cially the** Young House-Keeper" — which treat, more 
or less, of diet, it may possibly be objected, that I some- 
times repeat the same idea. But how is it to be avoided ? 
In writing for various classes of the community, and 
presenting my views in various connections and aspects, 
it is almost necessary to do so. Writers on theology, 
or education, or any other important topic, do the same 
— probably to a far greater extent, in many instances, 
than I have yet done. I repeat no idea for the sake of 
repeating it. Not a word is inserted but what seems to 
me necessa'-y, in order that I may be intelligible. More- 
over, like the preacher of truth on many other subjects, 
it is not so much my object to produce something new 



in every paragraph, as to explain, illustrate, and enforce 
what is already known. 

It may also be thought that I make <oo many books. 
But, as I do not claim to be so much an originator of 
new things as an instrument for diffusing the old, it wi)l 
not be. expected that I should be twenty years on a 
volume, like Bishop Butler. I had, however, been col- 
lecting my stock of materials for this and other works — 
published or unpublished — more than twenty-five years. 
Besides, it might be safely and truly said that the study 
and reading and writing, in the preparation of this vol- 
ume, the " House I Live In," and the " Young House- 
Keeper," have consumed at least three of the best years 
of my life, at fourteen or fifteen hours a day. Several 
of my other works, as the " Young Mother," the " Moth- 
er's Medical Guide," and the " Young Wife," have also 
been the fruit of years of toil and investigation and ob- 
servation, of which those who think only of the labor of 
merely writing them out, know nothing. Even the 
" Mother in her Family" — at least some parts of it — 
though in general a lighter work, has been the result of 
much care and labor. The circumstance of publishing 
several books at the same, or nearly the same time, has 
little or nothing to do with their preparation. 

When I commenced putting together the materials of 
this little treatise on diet — thirteen years ago — it was 
my intention simply to show the safety of a vegetable 
and fruit diet, both for those who are afflicted with 
many forms of chronic disease, and for the healthy. 
But I soon became convinced that I ought to go farther, 
and show its syrERioRiTY over every other. This I 

■ ^ , PREFACE. ^ V 

have attempted to do — with what success, the reader 
must and will judge for himself. 

I have said, it was not my original intention to prove 
a \'egetable and fruit diet to be any thing more than 
safe. But I wish not to be understood as entertaining, 
even at that time, any doubts in regard to the superi- 
ority of such a diet : the only questions with me were, 
Whether the public mind was ready to hear and weigh 
the proofs, and whether this volume was the place in 
which to present them. Both these questions, however, 
as I went on, were settled, in the affirmative. I be- 
lieved — and still believe — that the public mind, in this 
country, is prepared for the free discussion of all topics 
— provided they are discussed candidly — which have a 
manifest bearing on the well-being of man ; and I have 
governed myself accordingly. 

An apology may be necessary for retaining, unex- 
plained, a few medical terms. But I did not feel at lib- 
erty to change them; in the correspondence of Dr. 
North, for more popular language ; and, having retained 
them thus far, it did not seem desirable to explain them 
elsewhere. Nor w^s I willing to deface the pages of 
the work with explanatory notes. The fact is, the tech- 
nical terms alluded to, are, after all, very few in num- 
ber, and may be generally understood by the connec- 
tion in which they appear. 


West Newton Mass. 




The great question in regard to diet, viz., whether 
any food of the animal kind is absolutely necessary 
to the most full and perfect development of man's whole 
nature, being fairly up, both in Europe and America, 
and there being no practical, matter-of-fact volume on 
the subject, of moderate size, in the market, numerous 
friends hiive been for some time urging me to get up 
a new and revised edition of a work which, though im- 
perfect, has been useful to many, while it has been for 
some time out of print. Such an edition I have at 
length found time to prepare — to which I have added, 
in various ways, especially in the form of new facts, 
nearly fifty pages of new and original matter. 

West Newton, Mass., 1849. 


*■ # 






Experieooe of the Author, and his Studies.— Pamphlet in 1832.— Pitee^nestion of 
the Boylston Medical Committee.— Collection of Materials for an Essay.^Dr. 
North.— His Letter and Questions.— Results Page l.'f-ao 



Letter of ^pr. Parmly.— Dr. VV. A. Alcott.— Dr. D. S. Wright— Dr. H. N. Preston.— 
Dr. H. A. Barrows.— Dr. Caleb Bannister.— Dr. Lyman Tenny.— Dr. J. M. B. Har- 
den. — Joseph Ricketson, Esq. — ^Joseph Congdon, Esq — George W. Baker, Esq. — 
John Howland, Jr., Esq. — Dr. Wm. U. Webster. — Josiah Bennet, Esq. — Wm. Vin- 
cent, Esq.— Dr. iieorge H. Perry. — Dr. L. W. Sherman, .... Sl-^ 



Correspondence. — The ** prescribed course of Reyimen." — How many victims to it f 
— ^Not one. — Case of Dr. Harden considered. — Case of Dr. Preston. — Views of Drs. 
Clark, Cheynu, and Lambe, on the treatment of Scrofula. — No reports of Injury from 
the prescribed System. — Case of Dr. Bannister. — Singular testimony of Dr. Wright 
— Vegetable food for Laborers. — Testimony, on the whole, much more favorable to 
the Vegetable System than could reasonably have been expected, in the circum- 
stance^ 56-66 



Letter from Dr. H. A. Barrows— Dr. J. M. B. Harden.^Dr. J, Porter.— Dr. N. J. 
Knight — Dr. Lester Keep. — Second letter from Dr. Keep. — Dr. Henry H. Brown. 
— Dr. Franklin Knox. — From a Physician. — Additional statements by the Author, 



"modern TIMES. 

General Remarks. — ^Testimony of Dr. Chcyne.— Dr. Geoffroy.— Vauquelin and Percy. 
—Dr. Pemberton. — Sir John Sinclair. — Dr. James. — Dr. Cranstoun. — Dr. Taylor. — 
Drs. Hufeland and Abernethy. — Sir Gilbert Blane. — Dr. Gregory. — Dr. CuUen. — ^Dr. 
Rush. — Dr. Lambe. — Prof. Lawrence. — Dr. Salgiu'.s. — .Author of "Sure Methods.'*— 



Bnron Cuvier.— Dr. Luthrr V. Bell.— Dr. Buchnn.— Dr. Whitlaw.— Dr. Clark.— 
I'rof. Mu88(^.— Drs. Bell and Condie.-4)r. J. V. C. Smith.— Mr. Graham.— Dr. J. 
M. Andrews, Jr. — Dr. Swcetscr.— Dr. Pii^rson. — Physician in New York. — Females' 
Encyclopedia. — Dr. Van Cooth. — Dr. Beaumont. — Sir Everard Home.— Dr. .len- 
nings.— Dr. Jarvis — Dr. Ticknor.— Dr. Coles— Dr. Shew.— Dr. Morrill.— Dr. Boll.— 
Dr. Jackson. — Dr. Stephrtneoo. — Dr. J. Burdell.— Dr. Smetburst. — Dr. Schlemm^-r. 
—Dr. Curtis.- Dr. Porter, . 92-175 



uofieral Remarks. — ^Testimony of Plautus. — Plutai^h. — Porphyry. — Lord Bacon. — 
Sir William Temple.— Cicero. — Cyrus the Great— Gassendi.— Prof. Hitchcock. — 
Lord Kaima.— Dr. Thomas Dick.— Prof. Bush.— Thomas Shillitoe.— Alexander 
Pope.— Sir Richard Phillips.— Sir Isaac Newton.— The Abb6 Gallani.— Homer.— 
Dr. Franklin.— Mr. Newton. — O. S. Fowler. — Rev. Mr. Johnston. — John II. Chan- 
dler. — Rev. J. Caswell. — Mr. Chinn. — Father Sewall. — Magliabecchi. — Oberlin and 
Swartz. — James Haughton — John Bailies. — Francis Hupazoli. — Prof. Ferguson. — 
Howard, the Philar thropist. — Gen. Elliot. — Encyclopedia Americana. — Thomas 
Bell, of London. — Linnwus, the Naturalist. — Shelley, the Poet. — Rev. Mr. Rich.— 
Rev. John VVesloy. — Lamartine, jit . 176-222 



The Pythagoreans. — The Essenes. — ^The Bramins, — Society of Bible Christians. — Or- 
phan Asylum of Albany. — ^The Mexican Indians. — School in Germany. — American 
Physiological Society, 22.3-235 



General Remarks on the Nature of the Argument. — 1. The Anatomical Argument. — 
2. The Physiological Argument— 3. The Medical Argument— 4. The Political Ar- 
gument— 5. The Economical Argument.^ — 6. The Argument from El^rience — 
7. The Moral Argument — Conclusion, 236-29C 



8read of the first order. — Bread of the second order. — Bread of tho third kind. — 
Boiled Grains. — Grains in oth»: forms — baketl, parched, roasted, or torrefied.— 
Hominj.-^Puddings proper . 291-308 





The large fraits — ^Apple, Pear, Peach, Quince, etc. — ^Tho smaller fruits— Strawberry, 
Cherry, Raspberry, Currant, Whortleberry, Mulberry, Blackberry, Bilberry, etc., 


CLASS ra. 

The Common Pobitc.- The Sweet Potato, . , . . . . . 309-311 



Buds and Young Shcots. — Leaves and Leaf Stalks. — Cucurbitaceoivs Fniits. — Oily 
S©;d8, etc., ... 311-312 




Experience of the Author, and his Studies. — Pamphlet in 1832.— Prize-QuettioB ol 
the Boykton Medical Committee. — Collection of Materials for an Essay. — ^Dr. 
North.— His Letter and Questions.— Results. 

Twenty-three years ago, the present season, I was in 
the first stage of tuberculous consumption, and evident- 
ly advancing rapidly to the second. The most judicious 
physicians were consulted, and their advice at length 
followed. I commenced the practice of medicine, trav- 
eling chiefly on horseback; and, though unable to do 
but little at first, I soon gained strength enough to per- 
form a moderate business, and to combine with it a little 
gardening and farming. At the time, or nearly at the 
time, of commencing the practice of medicine, I laid 
aside my feather bed, and slept on straw ; and in De- 
cember, of the same year, I abandoned spirits, and most 
kinds of stimulating food. It was not, however, until 
nineteen years ago, the present season, that I abandoned 
all drinks but water, and all flesh, fish, and other highly 
stimulating and concentrated aliments, and confined my- 
nelf to a diet of milk, fruits, and vegetables. 



In the meantime, the duties of my profession, and the 
nature of my studies led me to prosecute, more diligently 
than ever, a subject which I had been studying, more or 
less, from my very childhood — the laws of Human 
Health. Among other things, I collected facts on this 
subject from books which came in my way ; so that 
when 1 went to Boston, in Januar}*, 1832, 1 had already 
obtained, from various writers, on materia medica, phys- 
iology, disease, and dietetics, quite a large parcel. The 
results of my reflections on these, and of my own obser- 
vation and experience, were, in part — but in part only 
— developed in July, of the. same year, in an anonymous 
pamphlet, entitled, "Rational View of the Spasmodic 
Cholera ;" published by Messrs. Clapp & Hull, of Bos- 

In the summer of 1833, the Boylston Medical Com- 
mittee of Harvard University offered a prize of fifty dol- 
lars, or a gold medal of that value, to the author of the 
best dissertation on the following question : "What diet 
can be selected which will ensure the greatest health 
and strength to the laborer in the climate of New Eng- 
land — quality and quantity, and the time and manner of 
taking it, to be considered ?" 

At first, I had thoughts of attempting an essay on the 
subject ; for it seemed to me an important one. Cir- 
cumstances, however, did not permit me to prosecute 
the undertnking ; though I was excited by the question 
of the Boylston Medical Committee to renewed eflforts 
to increase my stock of information and of facts. 

In 1834, 1 accidentally learned that Dr. Milo L. North, 
a distinguished practitioi^r of medicine in Hartford, 
Connecticut, was pursuing a course of inquiry not un- 
like my^ own, nnd collecting facts and materials for a 


DR. north's circular. nl^ 15 

•similar purpose. In correspondence with Dr. North, a 
proposition was made to unite our stock of materials ; 
but nothing for the present was actually done. How- 
ever, I agreed to furnish Dr. North with a statement of 
my own experience, and such other important facts as 
came within the range of my own observations ; and a 
statement of my experience was subsequently intrusted 
to Jiis care, as will be seen in its place, in the body of 
this work. 

In February, 1835, Dr. North, in the prosecution of 
his efforts, addressed the following circular, or letter 
and QUESTIONS, to the editor of the Boston Medical and 
. Surgical Journal, which were accordingly inserted in a 
subsequent number of that work. They were also pub- 
lished in the American Journal of Medical Science, of 
Philadelphia, and copied into numerous papers, so that 
they were pretty generally circulated throughout our 

" To the Editor of the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. 

" SrR, — Reports not unfrequently reach us of certain 
individuals who have fallen victims to a prescribed 
course of regimen. Those persons are said, by gentle- 
men who are entitled to the fullest confidence, to have 
pertinaciously followed the course, till they reached a 
point of reduction from which there was no recovery. 
If these are facts, they ought to be collected and pub- 
lished. And I beg leave, through your Journal, to re- 
quest my medical brethren, if they have been called to 
advise in such cases, that they will have the kindness to 
answer, briefly, the following interrogatories, by mail, 
as early as convenient. 

"Should the substance of their replies ever be em- 


bodied in a small volume, they will not only receive a 
copy and the thanks of the author, but will have the 
pleasure to know they are assisting in the settlement of 
a question of great interest to the country. If it should 
appear probable that their patient was laboring under a 
decline at the commencement of the change of diet, this 
ought, in candor, to be fully disclosed. 

"It will be perceived, by the tenor of the quest^pns, 
that they are designed to embrace not only unfortunate 
results of a change of diet, but such as are favorable. 
There are, in our community, considerable numbers 
who have entirely excluded animal food from their diet. 
It is exceedingly desirable that the results of such ex- 
periments, so difficult to be found in this land of plenty, 
should be ascertained and thrown before the profession 
and the community. Will physicians, then, have the 
kindness, if they know of any persons in their vicinity 
who have excluded animal food from their diet for a 
year or over, to lend them this number of the Journal, 
and ask them to forward to Milo L. North, Hartford, 
Connecticut, as early as convenient, the result of this 
change of diet on their health and constitution, in ac- 
cordance with the following inquiries ? 

" 1. Was your bodily strength either increased or 
diminished by excluding all animal food from your 

" 2. Were the animal sensations, connected with the 
process of digestion, more — or less agreeable ? 

" 3. Was the mind clearer ; and could it continue a 
laborious investigation longer than when you subsisted 
on mixed diet? 

" 4. What constitutional infirmities were aggravated 
or remoyed ? 

DR. north's circular. 3f; 17 

" 5. Had you fewer colds or other febrile attacks— or 
the reverse ? 

** 6. What length of time, the trial ? 

" 7. Was the change to a vegetable diet, in your case, 
preceded by the use of an uncommon proportion of an- 
imal food, or of high seasoning, or of stimulants ? 

" 8. Was this change accompanied by a substitution 
of cold water for tea and coffee, during the experiment? 

"9. Is a vegetable diet more — or less aperient than 
mixed ? 

" JO. Do you believe, from your experience, that the 
health of either laborers or students would be promoted 
by the exclusion of animal food from their diet ? 

" 11. Have you selected, from your own observation, 
any articles in the vegetable kingdom, as particularly 
healthy, or otherwise ? 

"N. B. — Short answers to these inquiries are all that 
is necessary ; and as a copy of the latter is retained by 
the writer, it will be sufficient to refer to them numeri- 
cally, without the trouble of transcribing each question. 

*' Hartford, Febmary 25, 1835." 

This circular, or letter, drew forth numerous replies 
from various parts of the United States, and chiefly 
from medical men. In the meantime, the prize of the 
Boylston Medical Committee was awarded to Luther 
V. Bell, M.D., of Derry, New Hampshire, and was pub- 
lished in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, and 
elsewhere, and read with considerable interest. 

In the year 1836, while many were waiting — some 
with a degree of impatience — to hear from Dr. North, 
his health so far failed him, that he concluded to re- 
linquish, for the present, his inquiries ; and, at his par- 


ticular request, I consented to have the following card 
inserted in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal: 

"Db. Nobth, of Hartford, Connecticut, tenders his 
grateful acknowledgments to the numerous individuals, 
who were so kind as to forward to him a statement of 
the effects of vegetable diet on their own persons, in 
reply to some specific inquiries inserted in the Boston 
Medical and Surgical Journal of March 11, 1835, and 
in the Philadelphia Journal of the same year. Although 
many months elapsed before the answers were a!l re- 
ceived, yet the writer is fully aware that these commu- 
nications ought to have been published before this. His 
apology is a prolonged state of ill health, which has now 
become so serious as to threaten to drive him to a south- 
ern climate for the winter. In this exigency, he has so- 
licited Dr. W. A. Alcott, of Boston, to receive the papers 
and give them to the public as soon as his numerous 
engagements will permit. This arrangement will doubt- 
less be fully satisfactory, both to the writers of the com- 
munications and to the public. 

" Hartford, November 4, 1836." 

Various circumstances, beyond my control, united to 
defer the publication of the contemplated work to the 
year 1838. It is hoped, however, that nothing was lost 
by delay. It gave further opportunity for reflection, as 
well as for observation and experiment ; and if the work 
is of any value at all to the community, it owes much 
of that value to the fact that what the public may be 
disposed to regard as unnecessary, afforded another 
year for investigation. Not that any new discoveries 
were mndo in that time, hut I wjis, at least, enabled to 

DR. north's card. ^ 19 

verify and confirm my former conclusions, and to re- 
view, more carefully than ever, the whole argument. 
It is hoped that the work will at least serve as a pio- 
neer to a more extensive as well as more scientific 
volume, by some individual who is better able to do the 
subject justice. 

It will be my object to present the facts and argu- 
ments of the following volume, not in a distorted or 
one-sided manner, but according to truth. I have no 
private interests to subserve, which would lead me to 
suppress, or falsely color, or exaggerate. If vegetable 
food is not preferable to animal, I certainly do not wish 
to have it so regarded. This profession of a sincere 
desire to know and teach the truth may be an apology 
for placing the letters in the order in which they ap- 
pear — which certainly is such as to give no unfair ad- 
vantages to those who believe in the superiority of the 
vegetable system — and for the faithfulness with which 
their whole contents, whether favoring one side or other 
of the argument, have been transcribed. 

The title of the work requires a word of explanation. 
It is not intended, or even intimated, that there are no 
facts here but what rest on medical authority; but 
rather, that the work originated with the medical pro- 
fession, and contains, for the most part, testimony which 
is exclusively medical — either given by medical men. 
or under their sanction. In fact, though designed 
chiefly for popular reading, it is in a good degree a 
medical work ; and will probably stand or fall, accord- 
ing to the sentence of approbation or disapprobation 
which shall be pronounced by the medical profession. 

The following chapter will contain the letters ad- 
dressed to Dr. North. They are inserted, with a single 


exception, in the precise order of their date. Tlie first, 
however, does not appear to have been elicited by Dr. 
North's circular; but rather by a request in sonie pre- 
vious letter. It will be observed that several of the 
letters include more than one case or experiment ; and 
a few of them many. Thus the whole series embraces, 
at the least calculation, from thirty to forty experiments. 
The replies of nearly every individual are numbered 
to correspond with the questions, as suggested by Dr. 
North ; so that, if there should remain a doubt, in any 
case, in regard to the precise point referred to by the 
writer of the letter, the reader has only to turn to the 
circular in the present chapter, and read the question 
there, which corresponds to the number of the doubtful 
one. Thus, for example, the various replies marked 6, 
refer to the length or duration of the experiment or 
experiments which had been made; and those marked 
9, to the aperient effects of a diet exclusively vegetable. 
And so of all the rest. 




L<!lter of Dr. Parmly.— Dr. W. A. Alcott— Dr. D. J«. Wright— Dr. H. N. Preston.-^ 
l>r. II, A. BHrrows.— Dr. Caleb Rjinnister — Dr. Lyraan Tenny.— Dr. J. M. B. Har« 
dm, — Joseph Ricketsou, Esq. — Josepli Congdon, Eaq. — George W. Baker, Esq.— > 
John Uowland, Jr., Esq.— Dr. Wm. H. Webster.— Josiah Bennet, Esq.— Wm. Vin- 
cent, Esq.— Dr. Geo. H. Perry.— Dr. L. W. Sherman. 


To Dr. North. 

My Dear Sir, — For two years past, I have abstained 
from the use of all the diffusible stimulants, using no 
animal food, either flesh, fish, or fowl ; nor any alcoholic 
or vinous spirits ; no form of ale, beer, or porter ; no 
cider, tea, or coffee ; but using milk and water as my 
only liquid aliment, and feeding sparingly, or rather, 
moderately, upon farinaceous food, vegetables, and fruit, 
seasoned with unmelted butter, slightly boiled eggs, and 
sugar or molasses ; with no condiment but common 

I adopted this regimen in company with several 
. friends, male and female, some of whom had been 
afflicted either with dyspepsia or some other chronic 
malady. In every instance within the circle of my 
acquaintance, the symptoms of disease disappeared be- 
fore this system of diet ; and I have every reason to 
believe that the disease itself was wholly or in part 

In answer to your inquiry, whether I ascribe the cure. 


in the cases alleged, to the abstinence from animal food 
or from stimulating drinks, or from both, 1 cannot but 
give it as my confident opinion that the result is to be 
attributed to a general abandonment of the diffusive 
stimuli, under every shape and form. 

An increase of flesh was one of the earliest effects of 
the anti-stimulating regimen, in those cures in which 
the system was in low condition. The animal spirits 
became more cheerful, buoyant, and uniformly pleasura- 
ble. Mental and bodily labor was endured with much 
less fatigue, and both intellectual and corporeal exertion 
was more vigorous and efficient. 

In the language of Addison, this system of ultra tem- 
perance has had the happy effect of "filling the mind 
with inward joy, and spreading delight through all its 

But, although I have thus made the experiment of 
abstaining wholly from the use of liquid and solid stimu- 
lants, and from every form of animal food, I am not 
fully convinced that it should be deemed improper, on 
any account, to use the more slightly stimulating forms 
of animal food. Perhaps fish and fowl, with the excep- 
tion of ducks and geese, turtle and lobster, may be taken 
without detriment, in moderate quantities. And I re- 
gard good mutton as being the lightest, and, at the same 
time, the most nutritious of all meats, and as producing 
less inconvenience than any other kind, where the ener- 
gies of the stomach are enfeebled. And yet there are 
unquestionably many constitutions which would be 
benefited by living, as I and others have done, on 
purely vegetable diet and ripe fruits. 

In relation to many of the grosser kinds of animal 
food, all alcoholic spirits, all distilled and fermented , 


liquors, tea and cojBTee, opium and tobacco, — I ieel con- 
fident in pronouncing them not only useless, but noxious 
to the animal machine. 

Yours, etc., Eleazer Parmly 

New York, January 31, 1835. 


Boston, December 19, 1834. 

Dear Sir, — ^I received your communication, and 
hasten to reply to as many of your inquiries as I can. 
Allow me to take them up in the very order in which 
you have presented them. 

Answer to question 1. I was bred to a very active 
life, from my earliest childhood. This active course 
was continued till about the time of my leaving off the 
use of flesh and fish ; since which period my habits 
have, unfortunately, been more sedentary. I think my 
muscular strength is somewhat less now than it was 
before I omitted flesh meat, but in what proportion I 
am unable to say ; for indeed it varies greatly. When 
more exercise is used, my strength increases — some- 
times almost immediately ; when less exercise is used, 
my strength again diminishes, but not so rapidly. 
These last circumstances indicate a more direct con- 
nection between my loss of muscular strength and my 
neglect of exercise than between the former and my 

2. Rather more agreeable ; unless 1 use too large a 
quantity of food ; to which however I am rather more 
inclined than formerly, as my appetite is keener, and 
food relishes far better. A sedentary life, moreover, as 


I am well satisfied, tends to bring my moral powers 
into subjection to the physical. 

3. My mind has been clearer, since I commenced the 
experiment to which you allude, than before ; but I 
doubt whether I can better endure a ** laborious investi- 
gation." A little rest or exercise, perhaps less than 
formerly, restores vigor. I am sometimes tempted to 
break my day into two, by sleeping at noon. But I am 
not so apt to be cloyed with study, or reflection, as 

4. Several. 1. An eruptive complaint, sometimes, 
at one period of my life, very severe. 2. Irritation of 
the li^ngs; probably, indeed most certainly, incipient 
phthisis. 3. Rheumatic attacks, though they had never 
been very severe. 

The eruptive disease, however, ar^d the rheumatic 
attacks, are not wholly removed ; but they are greatly 
diminished. The irritation at the lungs has nearly left 
me. This is the more remarkable from the fact that I 
have been, during almost the whole period of my ex- 
periment, in or about Boston. I was formerly some- 
what subject to palpitations ; these are now less fre- 
quent. I am also less exposed to epidemics. Formerly, 
like other scrofulous persons, I had nearly all that ap- 
peared ; now I have very few. 

You will observe that I merely state the facts, with- 
out aflirming, positively, that my change of diet has 
been the cause, though I am quite of opinion that this 
has not been without its influence. Mental quiet and 
total abstinence from all drinks but water, may also 
have had much influence, as well as other causes. 

5. Very few colds. Last winter I had a violent in- 
flammation of the ear, which was attended with some 


fever; but abstinence and emollient applications soon 
restored me. In July last, I had a severe attack of 
diarrhoea unattended with much fever, which I attrib- 
uted to drinking too much water impregnated with 
earthy salts, and to which I had been unaccustomed. 
When I have a cold, of late, it affects, principally, the 
nasal membrane; and, if I practice abstinence, soon 
disappears. In this respect, more than in any other, I 
am confident that since I commenced the use of a veg- 
etable diet I have been a very great gainer. 

6. The experiment was fully begun four yeai-s ago 
last summer ; though I had been making great changes 
in my physical habits for four years before. For about 
three years, I used neither flesh nor fish, nor even eggs 
more than two or three times a year. The only ani- 
mal food I used was milk; and for some long periods, 
not even that. But at the end of three years I ate a 
very small quantity of flesh meat once a day, for three 
or four weeks, and then laid it aside. This was in the 
time of the cholera. The only effect I perceived from 
its use was a slight increase of peristaltic action. In 
March last, I used a little dried fish once or twice a 
day, for a few days ; but with no peculiar effects. Af- 
ter my attack of diarrhoea, in July last, I used a little 
flesh several times ; but for some months past I have 
laid it aside entirely, with no intention of resuming it 
Nothing peculiar was observed, as to its effects, during 
the last autumn. 

7. I never used a large proportion of animal food, 
except milk, since I was a child ; but I have been in the 
habit, at various periods of my life, of drinking consider- 
able cider. For some months before I laid aside flesh 
and fish, I had been accustomed to the use of more am- 



mal food than usual, but less cider ; though, for a part 
of the time, I made up the deficiency of cider with ale 
and coffee. For several months previous to the be- 
ginning of the experiment, I had drank nothing but 

8. Rather less. But here, i;gain, I fear I am in dan- 
ger of attributing to one cause what is the effect of an- 
other. My neglect of exercise may be more in fault 
than the rice and bread and milk which I use. Still I 
must think that vegetable food is, in my own case, less 
aperient than animal. 

9. In. regard to students, my reply is, Yes, most cer 
tainly. So I think in regard to laborers, were they 
trained to it. But how far early habits may create a 
demand for the continuance of animal food through life, 
I am quite at a loss for an opinion. Were I a hard labor- 
er, I should use no animal food. When I travel on foot 
forty or fifty miles a day, I use vegetable food, and in less 
than the usual quantity. This I used to do before I 
commenced my experiment. 

10. I use bread made of unbolted wheat meal, in 
moderate quantity, when I can get it; plain Indian 
cakes once a day ; milk once a day ; rice once a day. 
My plan is to use as few things as possible at the same 
meal, but to have considerable variety at different meals. 
I use no new bread or pastry, no cheese, and but little 
butter ; and very little fruit, except apples in moderate 

11. The answer to this question, though I think it 
would be important and interesting, with many other 
particulars, I must defer for the present. The experi- 
ments of Dr. F., a young man in this neighborhood, and 
of several other individuals, would, I know be in point; 


but I have not at my command the time necessary to 
present them. 


Whitehall, WashiDgtoa Co., N. Y., March 17, 1835. 

Pear Sir, — ^I noticed a communication from you in 
the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal of the 5th in- 
stant, in which you signify a wish to collect facts in re- 
lation to the effects of a vegetable diet upon the human 
system, etc. I submit for your consideration my own 
experience ; premising, however, that I am a practicing 
physician in this place — ^am thirty-three years old — of 
a sanguine, bilious temperament — have from youth up 
usually enjoyed good health — am not generally subject 
to fevers, etc. 

I made a radical change in my diet three years ago 
this present month, from a mixed course of animal and 
vegetable food, to a strictly vegetable diet, on which I 
subsisted pretty uniformly for the most part of one year. 
I renewed it again about ten moths ago. 

My reasons for adopting it were : 1st. I had expe- 
rienced the beneficial effects of it for several years 
before, during the warm weather, in obviating a dull 
cephalalgic pain, and oppression in the epigastrium. 
2dly. I had recently left the salubrious atmosphere of 
the mountains in Essex county, in this state, for this 
place of musquitoes and miasmata. 3dly, and promi- 
nently. I had frequent exposures to the variolous infec- 
tion, and I had a dreadful apprehension that I might 
have an attack of the varioloid, as at that time I had 
never experimentally tried the protective powers of the 


vaccine virus, and had too little confidence in those who 
recommended its prophylactic powers. The results I 
submit you, in reply to your interrogatories. 

1. I think each time I tried living on vegetable food 
exclusively, that for the first month I could not endure 
fatigue ds well. Afterward I could. 

2. The digestive organs were always more agreeably 
excited. ^ 

3. The mind uniformly clearer, and could endure la- 
borious investigations longer, and with less eflfort. 

4. I am constitutionally healthy and robust. 

5. I believe I have more colds, principally seated on 
the mucous membranes of the lungs, fauces* and cavities 
of the head. (I do not, however, attribute it to diet.) 

6. The first trial was one year. I am now ten months 
on the same plan, and shall continue it. 

7. I never used a large quantity of animal food or 
stimulants, of any description. 

8. I have for several years used tea and coflTee, 
usually once a day — believe them healthy. 

9. Vegetable diet is less aperient than a mixed diet, 
if we except Indian com, 

10. I do not think that common laborers, in health, 
could do as well without animal food ; but I think stu- 
dents might 

11. I have selected potatoes^ when haked or roasted^ 
and all articles of food usually prepared from Indian 
meal, as the most healthy articles on which I subsist ; 
particularly the latter, whose aperient and nutritive 
qualities render it, in my estimation, an invaluable arti- 
cle for common use. Yours, etc., 

D. S. Weight. 



Plymouth, Mms., March 26, 1835. 

Dear Sir, — ^When I observed your questions in the 
Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, of the 11th of 
March, I determined to give you personal experience, 
in reply to your valuable queries. 

In the spring of 1832, while engaged in more than 
usual professional labor, 1 began to suffer from indiges- 
tion, which gradually increased, unabated by any medi- 
cinal or dietetic course, until I was reduced to the very 
confines of the grave. The disease became complicated, 
for a time, with chronic bronchitis. I would remark, 
that, at the time of my commencing a severe course of 
diet, I was able to attend to my practice daily. 

In answer to your inquiries,. I would say to the 1st — 
very much diminished, and rapidly. 

2. Rather less ; distinct local uneasiness — less disposi- 
tion to drowsiness ; but decidedly more troubled with 
cardialgia, and eructations. 

3. I think not. 

4. My disease was decidedly increased; as cough, 
headache, and emaciation ; and being of a scrofulous di- 
athesis, was lessening my prospect of eventual recovery. 

5. My febrile attacks increased with my increased 

6. Almost four months ; when I became convinced 
death would be the result, unless I altered my course. 

7. I had taken animal food moderately, morning and 
noon — very little high seasoning — no stimulants, except 
tea and coffee. The latter was my favorite beverage ; 

* Dr. Preston hab Bince deceased. 


and I usually drank two cups with my breakfast and 
dinner, and black tea with my supper. 

8. I drank but one cup of weak coffee with my break- 
fast, none with dinner, and generally a cup of milk and 
water with supper. 

9. With me muck kss aperient; indeed, costiveness 
became a very serious and distressing accompaniment. 

10. From somewhat extensive observation, for the 
last seven years, I should say, of laborers never : stu- 
dents seldom. 

11. Among dyspeptics, potatoes nearly boiled, then 
mashed together, rolled into balls, and laid over hot 
coals, until a second time cooked, as easy as any vege- 
table. If any of the luxuries of the table have been 
noticed as particularly injurious, it has been cranberries, 
prepared in any form, as stewed in sauce, tarts, pies, etc. 

Crude as these answers are, they are at your service ; 
and I am prompted to give them from the fact, that very 
few persons, I presume, have been so far reduced as 
myself, with dyspepsia and its concomitants. In fact, I 
was pronounced, by some of the most scientific physi- 
cians of Boston, as past all prospect of cure, or even 
much relief, from medicine, diet, or regimen. My at- 
tention has naturally been turned with anxious solicitude 
to the subject of diet, in all its forms. Since my unex- 
pected restoration to health, my opportunities for obser- 
vation among dyspeptics have been much enlarged ; and 
I most unhesitatingly say, that my success is much more 
encouraging, in the management of such cases, since 
pursuing a more liberal diet, than before. Plain animal 
diet, avoiding condiments and tea, using mucilaginous 
drink, as the Irish Moss, is preferable to *' absolute diet," 
— cases of decided chronic gastritis excepted. 

yours, etc., H . N. Preston. 



Phillips, Somerset Co., Me., April 28, 1835. 

Dear Sir, — ^I have a brother-in-law, who owes his 
life to abstinence from animal food, and strict adherence 
to the simplest vegetable diet. My own existence is 
prolonged, only (according to human probabilities) by 
entire abstinence from flesh-meat of every description, 
and feeding principally upon the coarsest farinacea. 

Numberless other instances have come under my ob- 
servation within the last three years, in which a strict 
adherence to a simple vegetable diet has done for the 
wretched invalid what the best medical treatment had 
utterly failed to do; and in no one instance have I 
known permanently injurious results to follow from this 
course, but in many instances have had to lament the 
want of firmness and decision, and a gradual return to 
the '* flesh-pots of Egypt:' 

With these views, I very cheerfully comply with your 
general invitation, on page 77, volume 12, of the Boston 
Medical and Surgical Journal. The answers to your 
interrogatories will apply to the case first referred to, 
to my own case, and to nearly every one which has oc- 
curred within my notice. 

1. Increased, uniformly ; and in nearly every instance, 
without even the usual debility consequent upon with- 
drawing the stimulus of animal food. 

2. More agreeable in every instance- 

3. Affirmative, in toto. 

4. None aggravated, except flatulence in one or two 
instances. All the horrid train of dyspeptic symptoms 
uniformly mitigated, and obstinate constipation removed. 


5. Fewer colds and febrile attacks. 

6. Three years, with my brother ; with myself, eight- 
een months partially, and three months wholly ; the oth- 
ers, from one to six months. 

7. Negative. 

8. Cold water — my brother and myself; others, hot 
and cold water alternately. 

9. More aperient, — ^no exceptions. 

10. I believe the health of students would uniformly 
be promoted — and the days of the laborer, to say the 
least, would be lengthened. 

11. I have ; and that is, simple bread made of wheat 
meal, ground in corn-stones, and mixed up precisely as 
it comes from the mill — with the substitution of fine 
flour when the bowels become too active. 

Yours, etc., Horace A. Barrows. 


Phelps, N. Y., May 4, 1835. 

Sir, — My age is fifty-three. My ancestors had all 
melted away with hereditary consumption. At the age 
of twenty, I began to be afflicted with pain in diflferent 
parts of the thorax, and other premonitory symptoms 
of phthisis pulmonalis. Soon after this, my mother and 
eldest sister died with the disease. For myself, having 
a severe attack of ague and fever, all my consumptive 
symptoms became greatly aggravated ; the pain was 
shifting — sometimes between the shoulders, sometimes 
in the side, of breast, etc. System extremely irritable, 
pulse hard and easily excited, from about ninety to one 
hundred and fifty, by the stimulus of a very small quan- 

BE. BA^NISTBE. - 33 

tity of food ; and, to be short, I was given up, on all 
hands, as lost. 

From reading ^ Rush^ I was induced to try a milk 
diet, and succeeded in regaining my health, so that for 
twenty-four years I have been entirely free from any 
symptom of phthisicf ; and although sut^ct, during that 
time, to many attacks of fever and other epidemics, 
have steadily followed the business of a country physi- 

I would further remark, before proceeding to the 
direct answer to your questions, that soon perceiving 
the benefit resulting from the course I had commenced, 
and finding the irritation to diminish in proportion as I 
diminished not only the quality, but quantity of my food, 
I took less than half a pint at a meal, with a small piece 
of bread, amounting to about the quantity of a Boston 
cracker; and at times, in order to lessen arterial action, 
added some water to the milk, taking only my usual 
quantity in bulk. 

A seton was worn in the side, and a little exercise on 
horseback taken three times every dsly, as strength 
would allow, during the whole progress. The appetite 
was, at all times^ not only craving, it was voracious; 
insomuch that all my sufferings from all other sources, 
dwindled to a point when compared with it. 

The quantity that I ate at a time so far from satisfy- 
ing my appetite, only served to increase it ; and this 
inconvenience continued during the whole term, without 
the least abatement ; — and the only means by which I 
could resist its cravings, was to live entirely by myself, 
and keep out of sight of all kinds of food except the 
scanty pittance on wh,'ch I subsisted. And now to the 
proposed questions. 


1. Increased. 

2. More agreeable, hunger excepted. 

3. To the first part of this question, I should say evi- 
dently clearer ; to the latter part, such was the state of 
debility when I commenced, and such was it through 
the whole course, I am not able to give a decisive an- 

4. This question, you will perceive, is already an- 
swered in my preliminary remarks. 

5. Fewer, insomuch that I had none. 

6. Two full years. 

7. My living, from early life, had been conformable 
to the habits of the farmers of New England, from 
which place I emigrated, and my habits in regard to 
stimulating drinks were always moderate ; but I occa- 
sionally took them, in conformity to the customs of those 
" times of ignorance*' 

8. I literally drank nothing ; the milk wholly supply- 
ing the place of all liquids. 

9. State of the bowels good before adopting the course, 
and after. 

10. I do not. 

11. I have not. Caleb Bannister. 


FBARKLiir, Vermont, June 22, 18S5. 

Sir, — ^In answer to your inquiries, in the Boston Medi- 
cal and Surgical Journal, vol. xii., page 78, I can say 
that I have lived entirely upon a bread and mifk diet, 
without using any animal food other than the milk. 

1. At first, my bodily strength was diminished to a 

DR. TBNNY. 95 

certain degree, and required a greater quantity of food, 
and rather oftener, than when upon a mixed diet of ani- 
mal food (strictly so called) and vegetables. 

2. The animal sensations, attending upon the process 
of digestion, were rather more agreeable than when upon 
a mixed diet. 

3. My mind was more clear, but I could not continue 
a laborious investigation as long as when I used animal 
food more plentifully. 

4. At this time there were no constitutional infirmities 
which I was laboring under, except those which more or 
less accompany the rapid growth of the body ; such as 
a genera] lassitude, impaired digestion, etc, which were 
neither removed nor aggravated, but kept about so, un- 
til I ate just what I pleased, without any regard to my 
indigestion, etc., when I began to improve in the strength 
of my whole system. 

5. I do not recollect whether I was subject to more or 
fewer colds ; but I can say 1 was perfectly free from all 
febrile attacks, although febrile diseases often prevailed 
in my vicinity. But since that time, a period of six 
years, I have had three attacks of fever. 

6. The length of time I was upon this diet was about 
two years. 

7. Before entering upon this diet, I was in the habit 
of taking a moderate quantity of animal food, but with- 
out very high seasoning or stimulants. 

8. While using this diet, I confined myself entirely 
and exclusively to cold water as a drink — using neither 
tea, coffee, nor spirits of any kind whatever. 

9. I am inclined to think that a vegetable diet is more 
aperient than an animal one ; indeed, I may say 1 know 
it to be a fact. 


10. From what I have experienced, I do not think 
that laborers would he any more healthy by excluding 
animal food- from their diet entirely ; but I believe it 
would b^ much better if they would use less. As to 
students, I believe their health would be promoted if 
they were to exclude it almost, if not entirely. 

11. I never have selected any vegetables which I 
thought to be more healthy than others : nor indeed do 
I believe there is any one that is more healthy than an- 
other; but believe that all those vegetables which we 
use in the season of them, are adapted to supply and 
satisfy the wants of the system. 

We are carnivorous, as well as granivorous animals, 
having systems requiring animal, as well as vegetable 
food, to keep all the organs of the body in tune ; and 
perhaps we need a greater variety than other animals. 
Yours, etc., Lyman Tenny. 


LiBBRTT CoUNTT, Georgia, July 15, 1835. 

Sir, — Having observed, in the May number of the 
" American Journal of the Medical Sciences," certain 
inquiries in relation to diet, proposed by you to the 
physicians of the United States, I herewith transmit to 
you an account of a case exactly in point, which I hope 
may prove interesting to yourself, and in some degree 
" assist in the settlement of a question of great interest 
to the country.*' 

The case, to which allusion is made, occurred in the 
person of a very intelligent and truly scientific gentle- 
man of this county, whose regular habits, both of mind 

BR. flASDEN. 37 

and body, added to his sound and discriminating judg- 
ment, will tend to heighten the value and importance of 
the experiment involved in the case I am about to de- 

Before proceeding to give his answers to your inter- 
rogatories, it may be well to premise, that at the time 
of commencing the experiment, he was forty-five years 
of age ; and being an extensive cotton planter, his busi- 
ness was such as to make it necessary for him to under- 
go a great deal of exercise, particularly on foot, having, 
as he himself declares, to walk seldom less than ten 
miles a day, and frequently more ; and this exercise 
was continued during the whole period of the experi- 
ment. His health for two years previously had been 
very feeble, arising, as he supposed, from a' diseased 
spleen ; which organ is at this time enlarged, and some- 
what indurated. His digestive powers have always 
been good^ and he had been in the habit of making his 
meals at times entirely of animal food. His bowels 
have always been regular, and rather inclined to loose- 
ness, but never disordered. He is five feet eight inches 
high, of a very thin and spare habit of body, with thin 
dark hair, inclining to baldness ; complexion rather dark 
than fair; eyes dark hazel ; oi very studious habits when 
free from active engagements ; with great powers of 
mental abstraction and attention, and of a temper re- 
markahly even. 

In answer to your interrogatories, he replies, — 

1. That his bodily strength was increased, and gen- 
eral health became better. 

2. He perceived no difference. 

3. He is assured of the affirmative. 

4. His spleen was diminished in size, and frequent 


and long-continued attacks of lumbago were rendered 
much milder^ and have so continued. 

5. Had fewer colds and febrile attacks. 

6. Three years. 

7. No ; with the slight exception mentioned above. 

8. No. 

9. In his case rather less. 

10. Undoubtedly. 

11. No; has made his meals of cabbages entirely, 
and found them as easily digested as any other article 
of diet. I may remark, that honey to him is a poison, 
producing, invariably^ symptoms of cholera. 

After three years' trial of this diet, without having 
any previous apparent disease, but on the contrary as 
strong as usual, he was taken, somewhat suddenly, in 
the winter of 1832 and 3, with symptoms of extreme de- 
bility, attended with oedematous swellings of the lower 
extremities, and painful cramps, at night confined to the 
gastrocnemii of both legs, and some feverishness, in- 
dicated more by the beatings of the carotids than by 
any other symptom. His countenance became very 
pallid, and indeed he had every appearance of a man in 
a very low state of health. Yet, during the whole 
period of this apparent state of disease, there were no 
symptoms indicative of disorder in any function, save 
the general function of innervation, and perhaps that of 
the lymphatics or absorbents of the lower extremities. 
Nor was there any manifest disease of any organ, unless 
it was the spleen, which was not then remarkably en- 
larged. I was myself disposed to attribute his symp- 
toms to the spleen, and possibly to the want of animal 
food ; but he himself attributes its commencement, if not 
its continuance, to the inhalation of the vapor of arseni- 


uretted and sulphuretted hydrogen gases, to which 
he was subjected during some chemical experiments on 
the ores of cobalt, to which he has been for a long time 
tummg his attention ; a circumstance which I had not 
known until lately. 

However- it may be, he again returned to a mixed 
diet (to which however he ascribes no agency in his 
recovery), and, after six months' continuance in this 
state, he rapidly recovered his usual health and strength, 
which, up to this day — ^two full years after the expira- 
tion of six months — have continued good. In the treat- 
ment of his case no medicine of any kind was given, to 
which any good effect can be attributed ; and indeed he 
may be said to have undergone no medical treatment 
at all. Yours, etc., J. M. B. Harden. 


Nbw Bkdfokd, 8th month, 26th, 1835. 

Respected Friend, — ^Perhaps before giving answers 
to thy queries in the American Journal of Medical 
Science, it may not be amiss to give thee some account 
of my family and manner of living, to enable thee to 
judge of the effect of a vegetable diet on the constitu- 

I have a wife, a mother aged eighty-eight, send two 
female domestics. It is now near three years since we 
adopted what is called the Graham or vegetable diet, 
though not in its fullest extent. We exclude animal 
food from our diet, but sometimes we indulge in shell 
and other iSsh. We use no kind of stimulating liquors, 
either as drink or in cookery, nor any other stimulants 


except occasiotially a little spice. We do hot, as Pro- 
fessor Hitchcock would recommend, nor as I believe 
would be most conducive to good health, live entirely 
simple ; sometimes, however, for an experiment, I have 
eaten only rice and milk ; at other times only potatoes 
and milk for my dinner ; and have uniformly found 1 
could endure as much fatigue, and walk as far without 
inconvenience, as when I have eaten a greater variety. 
We, however, endeavor to make our varieties mostly 
at different meals. 

For breakfast and tea we have some hot water 
poured upon milk, to which we add a little sugar, and 
cold bread and butter; but in cold weather we toast 
the bread, and prefer having it so cool as not to melt 
the butter. We seldom eat a meal without some kind 
of dried or preserved fruit, such as peaches, plums, 
quinces, or apples ; and in the season, when easily to be 
procured, we use, freely, baked apples, also berries, par- 
ticularly blackberries stewed, which, while cooking, are 
sweetened and thickened a little. Our dinners are near- 
ly the same as our other meals, except that we use cold 
milk, without any water. We have puddings some- 
times made of stale bread, at others of Graham or other 
flour, or rice, or ground rice, usually baked ; we have 
also hasty puddings, made of Indian meal, or Graham 
flour, which we eat with milk or melted sugar and 
cream ; occasionally we have other simple puddings, 
such as tapioca, etc. Custards, with or without a crust, 
pies made of apple, and other fruits either green or pre- 
served ; but we have no more shortening in the crust 
than just to make it a little tender. 

I have two sons ; one lived with us about fifteen 
months after we adopted this mode of living ; it agreed 


remarkably well with him; he grew strong and fleshy.^ 
He married since that time, and, in some measure, re- 
turned to the usual manner of living ; but he is satisfied 
it does not agree so well with him as the Graham diet. 
The coarse bread he cannot well do without. My other 
son was absent when we commenced this way of living; 
he has been at home about six weeks, and has not eaten 
any animal food except when he dined out. He has 
evidently lost flesh, and is not very well ; he thinks he 
shall not be able to live without animal food, but I think 
his indisposition is more o>wing to the season of the year 
than diet. He never drank any tea or coffee until about 
four years since, when he took some coffee for a while, 
but no tea. For the last two years he has not drank 
either, when he could get milk. He is generally healthy, 
and so is his brother : both were literally brought up on 
gingerbread and . milk, never taking animal food of 
choice, until they were fifteen or sixteen years of age. 

Dr. Keep, of Fairhaven, Connecticut, was here about 
a year since, in very bad health, since which I learn he 
has recovered, by abstaining from animal food and other 
injurious diet. As he is a scientific man, I think he can 
give thee some useful information. 

1. The strength of both myself and wife has very 
materially increased, so that we can now walk ten miles 
as easily as we could five before; possibly it may in 
part be attributed to practice. Our health is, in every 
respect, much improved. One of our women enjoys 
perfect health ; the other was feeble when we com- 
menced this way of living, and she has not gained much 
if any in the time ; but this may be owing to her attend- 
ance on my mother, both day and night, who, being 
blind and feeble, takes no exercise except to walk across 


the room ; but we are very sure she would not have 
lived to this time had she not adopted this way of 

2. The process of digestion is much more agreeable* 
if we do not indulge in eating too much. We seldom 
have occasion to think of it after rising from the 

3. I do not perceive much effect on the mind, other 
thin what would naturally be produced by the restora- 
tion of health ; but have no doubt a laborious investiga- 
tion might be continued as long, if not longer, on this 
than any other diet. 

4. I was formerly very much afflicted with the head- 
ache, and sometimes was troubled with rheumatism. 
I have very seldom, for the last two years especially, 
been troubled with either ; and when I have had a turn 
of headache, it is light indeed compared with what it 
was before we adopted this system of living. My wife 
was very dyspeptic, and often had severe turns of pal- 
pitation of the heart ; the latter is entirely removed, and 
she seldom experiences any inconvenience from the 
former. Our nurse was formerly, and still is, troubled 
with severe turns of headache, though not so bad as 
formerly ; and I think she would have much less of it if 
she were placed in a different situation. 

5. We scarcely know what it is to have a cold ; my 
wife in particular. Previously to our change of diet, I 
was very subject to severe colds, attended with a hard 
cough, which lasted, sometimes, for several weeks. 

6. As before stated, we exclude animal food from our 
diet, as well as tea and coffee. 

7. Before we adopted a vegetable diet, we always 
had meat for dinner, and generally with breakfast ; and 


not unfrequently with tea. Tea and coflbe we drank 
very strong. 

8. We have substituted milk and water sweetened, 
for tea and coffee. 

9. Most vegetables I find have a tendency (especially 
when Graham or unbolted wheaten flour is used) to 
keep the bowels open ; to counteract which, we use rice 
once or twice a week. Potatoes, when eaten freely, 
are flatulent, but not inconvenient when eaten moder- 

10. I think the health of students, by the exclusion of 
animal food from their diet, would be promoted, es- 
pecially if they excluded tea and coffee also ; and I can 
see no good reason why it should not be beneficial to 
laboring people. I have conversed with two or three 
mechanics, who confirm me in this belief. 

11. Graham bread, as we call it, eaten with milk, or 
baked potatoes and milk, for most people, I think would 
be healthy ; to which should be added such a propor- 
tion of ric as may be found necessary. 

Thy fnend, Joseph Ricketson. 


New Bedford, Sept., 1835. 

Answers to Dr. North's inquiries on diet. 

1. Increase of strength and activity, connected with, 
and perhaps in some good degree a consequence of, an 
increase of daily exercise. 

2. Process of digestion more regular and agreeable. 

3. Mental activity greater ; no decisive experiments 
on the ability to continue a laborious investigation. 


4. Dyspepsia of long continiiance, and also difficult 
breathing ; inflammation of the eyes. 

5. Fewer colds; febrile attacks very slight; great 
elasticity in recovering from disease. Some part of 
the effect should undoubtedly be ascribed to greater 
attention to the skin by bathing and friction. 

6. Twenty-six months of entire abstinence from all 
animal substances, excepting butter and milk. Salt is 
used regularly. 

7. Through life inclined to a vegetable diet, with few 

8. Drinks have been milk, milk and water, or cold 

9. A weU'Sekcted vegetable diet appeare to produce 
a very regular action of the stomach and bowels. 

10. I think the health of laborers and students would 
be promoted by a great reduction of the usual quantity 
of animal food, and perhaps by discontinuing its use 
entirely. I feel no want. 

11. From my experience, I can very highly recom- 
mend bread made of coarse wheat flour. Among fruits, 
the blackberry, as peculiarly adapted to the state of the 
body, at the time of the year when it is in season. My 
range of food has been confined. I avoid green vegeta- 
bles. Age 35. Joseph Congdon. 


New BsDroRD, 9th month, 10, 1835. 

Dr. M. L. North, — Agreeably to request, the fol- 
lowing answers are forwarded, which I believe to be 
correct as far as my experience has tested. 

JOHN uowLAND, JR., esa. 45 

1. At first it was diminished ; but after a few months 
it was restored, and I think increased. 

2. More. 

3. It could. 

4. Pretty free from constitutional infirmities before 
the change, and no increase since. 

5. I have had no cold, of any consequence, for the 
last three years ; at which time I substituted cold water 
for tea and coffee, and commenced using cold water for 
washing about my head and neck and for shaving, 
which I continued through the year. 

6i I have not eaten animal food for about eighteen 

7. Two years previous to the entire change the 
quantity was great, but there had been a gradual dimin- 

8. It was. (See fifth answer.) 

9. More so, in my case. 

10. I believe the health of both laborers and students 
would be improved. 

11. I have generally avoided eating cucumbers; 
otherwise I have not 

Thy assured friend, Geo. W. Baker. 


New Bedford, 9th month, 10th day, 1835. 

Pkiend, — As I have lived nearly three years upon a 
vegetable diet, I cheerfully comply with thy request. 

1. My bodily strength has been increased ; and I can 
now endure much more exercise than formerly, without 


2. They are more agreeable ; and I am now frei 
from that dull, heavy feeling, which I used to experi 
ence after my meals. 

3. My mind is much clearer; and I am free from 
that depression of spirits, to which I was formerly sub- 

4. I was of a costive, dyspeptic habit, which has been 
entirely removed. I had frequent and severe attacks 
of headache, which I now rarely have ; and when they 
do occur they are very light, compared with what they 
formerly were. 

5. I have had fewer colds, and those much lighter 
than formerly. 

6. About three years. 

7. I used to eat animal food for breakfast and dinner, 
with coffee for drink, at those meals ; and tea for my 
third meal, with bread and butter. 

8. Milk for breakfast, and cold water for the other 
two meals. 

9. I have found it more so ; inasmuch as the use of 
it, with the substitution of bread, made from coarse^ un- 
bolted wheat flour, instead of superfine, has removed my 
costiveness entirely. 

10. I do. 

11. I consider potatoes and rice as the most healthy, 
and confine myself principally to the former. 

I would remark that during the season of fruits, I eat 
freely of them, with milk; and consider them to be 
healthy. John Howland, Jr. 



Batatia, N. Y., Oct. 21, 1835. 

Sir, — Some months since, I read your inquiries on 
diet in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal ; and 
subsequently in the Journal of Medical Sciences, Phila- 

I will answer your questions, numerically, from my 
knowledge of a case somewhat in point, and With which 
I am but too familiar, as it is my own. But, first, let 
me premise a few points in the history of my health, as 
a kind of key to my answers. 

It is about fifteen years since I was called a dyspep- 
tic ; this was while engaged in my academical studies. 
Not being instructed by my medical friend to make 
any alteration in diet and regimen, I merely swallowed 
his cathartics for one month, and his anodynes for the 
next month, as the bowels were constipated or relaxed. 
In short, I left college more dead than alive — a con- 
firmed dyspeptic. 

In 1826, 1 commenced tHe practice of physic. From 
this time, to the winter of 1831-2, 1 found it necessary 
gradually to diminish my indulgence in the luxuries of 
the table — especially in animal food, and distilled and 
fermented liquors. On one of the most inclement nights 
of the winter of 1831-2, a fire broke out in our village, 
at which I became very wet by perspiration, and the 
ill-directed efforts of some to extinguish it. This was 
followed by a severe inflammatory attack upon the di- 
gestive organs generally, and especially upon the renal 
region, which confined me to the house for more than 
eight months ; and, for the greatest share of that time. 


with the most excruciating torture. On getting out 
again, I found myself in a wretched condition indeed — 
reduced to a skeleton — a voracious appetite, which 
could not be indulged, and which had scarcely deserted 
me through the whole eight months. I could not regain 
my flesh or strength but by almost imperceptible de- 
grees ; indeed, loaf-sugar and crackers were almost the 
only food I could use with impunity for the first year. 

It is now nearly four years since I have eaten animal 
food, unless it be here and there a little, as an experi-> 
ment, with the sole exception of oysters, in which I can 
indulge, but with all due deference to the stricter rules 
of temperance. Still my appetite for animal food seems 
unabated. I have ever been a man unusually temper- 
ate in the use of intoxicating drinks ; and by no means 
intemperate in the luxuries of the table. I take no 
meat, no alcoholic or fermented drinks, not even cider ; 
and, for a year past, my health has been better than for 
three years previous ; and I think that about one third 
the amount of nourishment usually taken by men of my 
age, might subserve the purposes of food for me better 
than a larger quantity. The more I eat, the more I 
desire to eat ; and abstinence is my best medicine. 

But I have already surpassed my limits, and here are 
my answers. 

1. My strength is invariably diminished by animal 
food, and in almost direct proportion to the quantity, 
with the exception named above. 

2. Pain has been the uniform attendant upon the 
digestion of an animal diet, with feverish restlessness 
and constipation. 

3. Decidedly more fit for energetic action. 

4. An irritation, or subacute inflammation of the 


digestive apparatus, which is aggravated by animal 

5. Can endure hardship, exposure, and fatigue, much 
better without meat. 

6. About four years, with the exception stated above. 

7. It was not. 

8. Partiaiiy at the commencement ; but not of late, 
if not taken hot. 

9. Much more aperient 

10. Both classes take too much; and students and 
sedentaries should take little or none. 

11. For myself farinaceous articles first, then the 
succulent sub-acid ripe fruits, then the less oily nuts are 
most healthful — and animal food, strong coSee and tea, 
and unripe or hard fruits, in any considerable quantities, 
are most pernicious. 

Yours, etc, W. H. Webster. 


Mount-Jot, Pa., Oct. 27, 18.35. 

S», — ^I hereby transmit to you, answers to a series 
of dietetic queries which you have recently submitted. 

1. My physical strength was at least equal (I am 
rather inclined to think greater) after abstaining from 
animal food. I was, I am certain, not subject to such 
general debility and lassitude of the system, after con- 
siderable bodily exercise. 

2. More agreeable — ^not being subject to a sense of 
vertigo, which frequently (with me) followed the use 
of animal food. There is, generally, more cheerfulness 
and vivacity. 



3. The mind is more clear, and is not so liable 1^ 
be confused when intent upon any intricate subject; 
and, of course, ** can continue a laborious investigation 
longer." There is at no time such a propensity to in- 

4. I am not aware of being the subject of any ** con- 
stitutional infirmities ;** yet, that the change of diet had 
a very great effect upon the system, isr obvious, from 
the fact of my having been, formerly, subject to an 
eruptive disease of the skin, principally on the shoul- 
ders and upper part of the back, for a number of years, 
which is not the case at present, nor do I think will be, 
as long as I continue my present mode of living. 

5. I think I have not had as many colds and febrile 
attacks as before, nor have they been so severe ; yet I 
cannot be very decisive on this point, on account of the 
length of time in the trial not being fully sufficient. 

6. Between seven and eight months. I must here 
state that animal food was not entirely excluded. I 
probably partook, in very moderate quantities, once or 
twice a week. 

7. The quantity of animal food which would be con- 
sidered "an uncommon proportion," I am unable to 
determine ; but I was accustomed to make use of it, 
not kss than twice, and sometimes three times a day, 
moderately seasoned. No other stimulants, of any ac- 

8. Cold water has been the only substitute for tea 
and coffee, with the exception of an occasional cup; 
probably as often as once or twice a week. I was, on 
several occasions, by personal experience, induced to 
believe that the use of strong coffee retarded the pro- 
cess of digestion. 


9. More aperient. Previous to the general exclusion 
of animal food from my diet, I was subject to inveterate 
costiveness ; cases of which are now neither frequent 
nor severe. 

10. I do firmly believe it would. 

11. My diet, principally, during the trial, consisted 
of wheat bread, of the proper age, with a moderate 
quantity of fresh butter. Potatoes, beans, and some 
other esculent roots, etc., I found to be nutritious and 
healthy* The following substances I found to produce 
a contrary efl^t, or to possess different qualities : cab- 
bage, when not well boiled; cucumbers, raw or pick- 
Jed ; radishes, beets, and the whole catalogue of pre- 
serves. Fresh bread was particularly hurtful to me. 

Yours, etc., Johah Ben net. 


HopKiNTON, R. I., Dec. 23, 1835. 

See, — ^The following answer to the interrogations ii 
the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal of March 
1885, on diet, etc., as proposed by yourself, has been 
through the press of business, neglected until this late 
period. Trusting they may be of some use, I now for- 
ward them. 

1. Rather increased, if any change. 


3. I think I have retained the vigor of my mind 
more, in consequence of an abstemious diet. 

4. I thought I had the appearance of scurvy, which 
gradually disappeared. 


* Mr. Vincent is of Stonington, Ct. 


6. From May 20, 1811, (more than twenty-four 

7. Small in quantity, and dressed and cooked simply. 

8. I have drank nothing but warm tea, for seven 

9. Bowels uniformly open. 

10. I should not think it would. 

11. I have lived principally on bread, butter, and 
cheese, and a few dried vegetables. 

I was bom March 31, 1764. In 1888, when mowing, 
to quench thirst, I drank about a gill of cold water, after 
about as much milk and water; and the same year, 
some molasses and water ; but they did not answer the 
purpose. But when I rinsed my mouth with cold wa- 
ter, it allayed my thirst. 

(Signed) Wm. Vincent. 


HopKiNTON, R. I., Dec. 23, 1835. 

Sir, — I deem it necessary, first, to mention the situa- 
tion of my health, at the time of commencing abstinence 
from animal food. I was recovering from an illness of 
a nerocnz fever » A sudden change respecting my food 
not sitting well, rendered it necessary for me to abstain 
from all kinds, excepting dry wheat bread and gruel, for 
several weeks. By degrees I returned to my former 
course of diet, but as yet not to its full extent, as I can- 
not partake of animal food ol any kind whatever, nor of 
vegetables cooked therewith. 

1. Diminished. 



3. I do not perceive the mind to be clearer, and the 
power of investigation less. 

4. Distress in the stomach and pain in the head re- 


6. Six years and ten months. 

7. Unusual proportion of animal food. 

8. The first year, I drank only warm water, sweet- 
ened ; since that, tea. 


10. I do not 

11. I find beets particularly hard to digest. 

L. R. B. 
The foregoing statements anrf answers are in her own 
way and manner. 

Yours, etc., Geo. H. Perry. 


Falmouth, Mass., March 28, 1835. 

Sir, — In compliance with the request you recently 
made in the Medical Journal, I inclose the following 
answers to the queries relative to regimen you have 
propounded. They are given by a lady, whose expe- 
rience, intelligence, and discernment, have eminently 
qualified her to answer them. She, with myself, is 
equally interested with you in having this important 
question settled, and is extremely happy that you 
have undertaken to do it. This lady is now fifty years 
of age ; her constitution naturally is good ; her early 
habits were active, and her diet simple, until twenty 
years of age. After that, until within a few years, hei 


living consisted of all kinds of meats and delicacies, 
with wine after dinners, etc., etc. 

1. Her bodily strength was greatly increased by ex- 
cluding animal food from her diet. 

2. The animal sensations connected with the process 
of digestion have been decidedly /more agreeable. 

3. The mind is much clearer, the spirits much better, 
the temper more even, and "less irritability pervades 
the system." The mind can continue a laborious inves- 
tigation longer than when she subsisted on a mixed diet. 

4. Her health, which was before feeble, has, by the 
change, been decidedly improved. 

5. She has certainly had fewer colds, and no febrile 
attacks of any consequence, since she has practiced 
rigid abstinence from meats. 

6. She has abstained entirely for three years, and 
has taken but little for seven or eight years ; and when- 
ever she has, from necessity (in being from home, where 
she could procure nothing else), indulged in eating meat, 
she has universally suffered severely in consequence. 

7. The change to a vegetable diet was preceded, in 
her case, by the use of an uncommon proportion of 
animal food, highly seasoned with stimulants. 

8. Tea and coffee she has not used for thirteen years. 
She has used, for substitutes, water, milk and water, 
barley water, and gruel. She found tea and coffee to 
have an exceedingly pernicious effect upon her nervous 
and digestive system. 

9. A vegetable diet is more aperient than a mixed. 
Habitual constipation has been entirely removed by the 

10. She sincerely believes, from her experience, that 
the health of laborers and students would be generally 


promoted by the exclusion of animal food from their 

11. She considers hominy, as prepared at the South, 
particularly healthy ; and subsists upon this, with bread 
made from coarse flour, with broccoli, cauliflower, and 
all kinds of vegetables in their season. 

Be assured, dear sir, that these answers have come 
from a high source, to which private reference may at 
any time be made, and consequently are entitled to the 
highest consideration. 

Yours, etc., L. W. Sherman. 

Note. — If I have not been minute enough in the rela- 
tion of this case, I shall hereafter be happy to answer 
my questions you may think proper to propose. It is 
a very interesting and important case, in my opinion. 
The lady has been under my care a number of times, 
while laboring under slight indisposition. She has al- 
ways been very regular and systematic in all her habits. 
She is healthy and robust in appearance, and looks as 
though she might not be more than forty. This is the 
only case of the kind within my knowledge. I have 
practiced on her plan for a few weeks at a time, and, so 
far as my experience goes, it precisely comports with 
hers. But I love the " good things'* of this world too 
well to abstain from their use, until some formidable 
disease demands their prohibition. 

Yours, etc., L. W. S. 




COTrespoodenoe.— Hie ** prescribed eowrie d Begjiwen."— How maay TkUmi to itff 
— ^Not one. — Case of Dr. Harden considered.^OaBe of Dr. Pre^oa.— Views of Dnu 
Clark, Cheyne, and Lambe, on the treatment of Scrofttla.p— No reports of Injory from 
the prescribed System.— Case of Dr. Bannister.— Singular teatlmony of Dr. Wright 
— Vegetable food for Laborers. — ^Testimony, on the whole, much more favorable to 

" the Vegetable System than could reasonably have been expected, in the circum* 

"Reports not unfrequently reach us,** says Dr. North, 
"of certain individuals who have fallen victims to a 
prescribed course of regimen. These persons are said, 
by gentlemen who are entitled to the fullest confidence, 
to have pertinaciously followed the course, till they 
reached a point of reduction from which there was no 
recovery.** " If these are facts," he adds, ** they ought 
to be known and published." 

It was in this view, that Dr. North, himself a medical 
practitioner of high respectability, sent forth to every 
corner of the land, through standard and orthodox 
medical journals, to regular and experienced physi- 
cians — his " medical brethren" — his list of inquiries. 
These inquiries, designed to elicit truth, were couched 
in just such language as was calculated to give free 
scope and an acceptable channel for the communication 
of every fact which seemed to be opposed to the vege- 
table SYSTEM ; for this, we believe, was distinctly un- 
derstood, by every medical man, to be the " prescribed 
course of regimen" alluded to. 


The results of Dr. North's inciuiries, and of an oppor- 
tunity so favorable for " putting down,** by the exhibi- 
tion of sober facts, the vegetable system, are fully pre- 
sented in the foregoing chapter. Let it not be said by 
any, that the attempt was a partial or unfair one. Let 
it be remembered that every effort was made to obtain 
truth in facts, without partiality,* favor, or affection. Let 
it be remembered, too, that nearly two years elapsed be- 
fore Dr. North gave up his papers to the author ; during 
which time, and indeed up to the present hour — a period, 
in the whole, of more than fourteen years — a door has 
been opened to every individual who had any thing to 
say, bearing upon the subject. 

Let us now review the contents of the foregoing 
chapter. Let us see, in the first place, what number of 
persons have here been reported, by medical men, as 
having fallen victims to the said " prescribed course of 

The matter is soon disponed of. Not a case of the 
description is found in the whole catalogue of returns to 
Dr. N. This is a triumph which the friends of the 
vegetable system did not expect. From . the medical 
profession of this country, hostile as many of them are 
known to be to the " prescribed course of regimen,** 
they must naturally have expected to hear of at least a 
few persons who weie supposed to have fallen victims 
to it. But, I say again, not one appears. 

It is true that Dr. Preston, of Plymouth, Mass., thinks 
he should have fallen a victim to his abstinence from 
flesh meat, had he not altered -his course ; and Dr. Har- 
den, of Georgia, relates a case of sudden loss of strength, 
and great debility, which he thought, at the time, might 
"possibly" be ascribed to the want of animal food; 


though the individual himself attributed it to quite an- 
other cause. These are the only two, of a list of thirty 
or forty, which were detailed, that bear the slightest re^ 
semblance to those which report had brought to the ear 
of Dr. N., and about which he so anxiously and earnest- 
ly solicited inquiry of his medical brethren. 

As to the case mentioned by Dr. Harden, no one who 
examined it with care, will believe for a moment, that it 
affords the slightest evidence against a diet exclusively 
vegetable. The gentleman who made the experiment 
had pursued it faithfully three years, without the slight- 
est loss of strength, but with many advantages, when, 
of a sudden, extreme debility came on. Is it likely that 
a diet on which he had so long been doing well, should 
produce such a sudden falling off? The gentleman 
himself appears not to have had the slightest suspicion 
that the debility had any connection with the diet. He 
attributes its commencement, if not its continuance, to 
the inhalation of poisonous gases, to which he was sub- 
jected in the process of some chemical experiments. 

But why, then, it may be asked, did he return to a 
mixed diet, if he had imbibed no doubts in regard to a 
diet exclusively vegetable; and, above all, how hap- 
pened he to recover on it ? To this it may be replied, 
that there is every reason to believe, from the tenor of 
the letter, that he acted against his own inclination, and 
contrary to his own views, at the request of his friends, 
and of Dr. Harden, his physician ; though Dr. Harden 
does not expressly say so. Besides, it does not appear 
that under his mixed diet there was any favorable 
change, till something like six months had elapsed. 
This was a period, in all probability, just sufficient to 
allow the poison of the gases to disappear ; after which 


he might have been expected to recover on any diet not 
positively bad. If this is not a true solution of the case, 
how happens it that there was no disease of any organ 
or function, except the nervous function? There is 
every reason for believing that Dr. Harden, at the date 
of his letter, had undergone a change of opinion, and 
was himself beginning to doubt whether the regimen 
had any agency in producing the debility.* 

The case of Dr. Preston is somewhat more difficult. 
At first view, it seems to sustain the old notion of medi- 
cal men, that, with a scrofulous habit, a diet exclusively 
vegetable cannot be made to agree. This, I say, seems 
to be a natural conclusion, at first view. But, on look- 
ing a little farther, we may find some facts that justify 
a different opinion. 

Dr. Preston was evidently timid and fearful — fore- 
boding ill — during the whole progress of his experi- 
ment. We think his story fully justifies this conclusion. 
In such circumstances, what could have been expected? 
There is no course of regimen in the world which will 
succeed happily in a state of mind like this. 

It should be carefully observed by the reader, that 
Dr. Preston speaks of entering upon a ** severe course 
of diet ;'' and also, that, in attempting to give an opinion 
as to the best kind of vegetable food, he speaks of pota- 
toes, prepared in a certain specified manner, as being 
preferable to any other. Now, I think it obvious, that 
Dr. Preston's " severe course" partook largely of crude 
vegetables, instead of the richer and better farinaceous 
articles — as the various sorts of bread, rice, pulse, etc. 
— and, if so, it is not to be wondered at that it was so 
unsuccessful. In short, I do not think he made any 

* Bee a more recent letter from Dr. Harden, in the next chapter. 


tiling like a fair experiment in vegetable diet. His 
testimony, therefore, though interesting, seems to be en- 
titled to very little weight. 

This conclusion is stated with the more confidence, 
from the fact that some of the best medical writers, not 
only of ancient times, but of the present day, appear to 
entertain serious doubts in regard to the soundness of 
the popular opinion in favor of the " beef-steak-and- por- 
ter" system of curing scrofulous patients. Dr. Clark, 
in the progress of his "Treatise on Consumption," 
almost expresses a belief that a judicious vegetable diet 
is preferable eveii for the scrofulous. He would not, of 
course, recommend a diet of crude vegetables, but one, 
rather, which would partake largely of farinaceous 
grains and fruits. Nor do I suppose he would, in 
every case, entirely exclude milk. 

Dr. Cheyne, in his writings, not only gives it as his 
opinion that a milk diet, long continued, or a milk and 
vegetable diet and mild mercurials, are the best means 
of curing scrofula ; but he also says, expressly, that "in 
all countries where animal food and strong fermented 
liquors are too freely used, there is scarcely an indi- 
vidual that hath not scrofulous glands." A sad story 
to relate, or to read I But, Dr. Lambe, of London, and 
other British physicians, entertain similar sentiments; 
and Dr. Lambe practices medicine largely, while enter- 
taining these sentiments. I could mention more than 
one distinguished physician, in Boston and elsewhere, 
who prescribes a vegetable and milk diet in scrofula. 

But, granting even the most that the friends of an- 
imal food can claim, what would the case of Dr. Pres- 
ton prove? That the healthy are ever injured by the 
vegetable system? By no means. That the sickly 


would generally be ? Certainly not Dr. Preston him- 
self even specifies one disease, in which he thinks a 
vegetable diet would be useful. What, then, is the 
bearing of this single and singular case? Why, at the 
most, it only shows that there are some forms of dys- 
pepsia which require animal food. Dr. Preston does 
not produce a single fact unfavorable to a diet exclu- 
sively vegetable for the healthy.* 

It is also worthy of particular notice, that not a fact 
is brought, or an experiment related, in a list of from 
thirty to forty cases, reported too by medical men, 
which goes to prove that any injury has arisen to the 
healthy, from laying aside the use of animal food. This 
kind of information, though not the principal thing, was 
at least a secondary object with Dr. North ; as we see 
by his questions, which were intended to be put to those 
who had excluded animal food from their diet for a year 
or more. 

But, let us take a general view of the replies to the 
inquiries of Dr. North. The sum of his first three ques- 
tions, was, — What were the effects of excluding animal 
food from your diet on your bodily strength, your men- 
tal faculties, and your appetite and animal spicits ? 

The answers to the three questions, of which this is 
the same, are, as will be seen, remarkable. In almost 
every instance the reply indicates that bodily and men- 
tal labor was endured with less fatigue than before, and 
that an increased activity of mind and body was accom- 
panied with increased cheerfulness and animal enjoy- 
ment. In nearly every instance, strength of body was 
actually increased ; especially after the first month. A 

* Besides, it is worthy of notice, that Dr. Preston did not long survive 
on his own plan. He died aboat the year 1840. 


result so uniformly in favor of the vegetable system is 
certainly more than could have been expected. 

One physician who made the experiment, indeed, 
says, that though his mind was clearer than before, he 
could not endure, so long, a laborious investigation. 
Another individual says, he perceived no difference 
in this respect. A third says, she found her bodily 
strength and powers of investigation somewhat di- 
minished, though her disease was removed. With 
these exceptions, the testimony on this point is, 09 
I have already said, most decidedly — I might say 
most overwhelmingly — in favor of the disuse of ani- 
mal food. 

To the question, whether any constitutional infirmi- 
ties were aggravated or removed by the new course of 
regimen, the replies are almost equally favorable to the 
vegetable system. It is true that one of the physicians. 
Dr. Parmly, thinks the beneficial effects which appeared 
in the circle of his observation were the results of a 
simultaneous discontinuance of fermented drinks, tea 
and coffee, and condiments. But I believe every one 
who reads his letter will be surprised at his conclusions. 
No matter, however ; we have his facts, and we are 
quite willing they should be carefully considered. The 
singular case of Dr. Preston, I now leave wholly out of 
the account. It was, as I have since learned, the story 
of a very singular man. 

Among the diseases and difficulties which were re- 
moved, or supposed to be removed, by the new diet, 
were dyspepsia, with the constipation which usually at- 
tends it, general lassitude, rheumatism, periodical head- 
ache, palpitations, irritation of the first passages, erup- 
tive diseases Df the skin, scurvy, and consumption. 


The case of Dr. Bannister, who was, in early life, de- 
cidedly consumptive, is one of the most remarkable on 
record. Though evidently consumptive, and near the 
borders of the grave, between the ages of twenty and 
twenty-nine, he so far recovered as to be, at the age of 
fifty-three, entirely free from every symptom of phthisis 
for twenty-four years ; during which whole period, he 
was sufficiently vigorous to follow the laborious busi- 
ness of a country physician. 

* The confidence of Dr. Wright in the prophylactic 
powers of a diet exclusively vegetable, so far as the 
mere opinion of one medical man is to be received as 
testimony in the case, is also remarkable. He not only 
regards the vegetable system as a defence against the 
diseases of miasmatic regions, but also against the vari- 
oloid disease. On the latter point, he goes, it seems, 
almost as far as Mr. Graham, who appears to regard 
it not only as, in some measure, a preventive of epi- 
demic diseases generally, in which he is most undoubt- 
edly correct, but also of the small-pox. 

The testimony on another point which is presented in 
the replies to Dr. North's questions, is almost equally 
uniform. In nearly every instance, the individuals who 
have abandoned animal food have found themselves less 
subject to colds than before ; and some appear to have 
fallen into the habit of escaping them altogether. When 
it is considered how serious are the consequences of 
taking cold — when it is remembered that something like 
one half of the diseases of our climate have their origin 
in this source — it is certainly no trifling evidence in fa- 
vor of a course of regimen, that, besides being highly 
favorable in every other respect, it should prove the 
means of fireeing mankind from exposure to a malady 


dt once iroublesome in itself and disastrous in its conse- 

In reply to the question, — Is a vegetable diet more or 
less aperient than a mixed one, — the answers have been 
the same, in nearly every instance, that it is more so. 

The answers to the question whether it was believed 
the health of either laborers or students would be pro- 
moted by the exclusion of animal food from their diet, 
are rather various. It will be observed, however, that 
many of the replies, in this case, are medical opinions^ 
and come from men who, though they felt themselves 
bound to state facts, were doubtless, with very few ex- 
ceptions, prejudiced against an exclusively vegetable 
regimen for the healthy. It is, therefore, to me, a mat- 
ter of surprise, to find some of them in favor of the said 
prescribed course of regimen, both for students and la- 
boiers, and many of them in favor of the discontinu- 
ance of animal food by students. Those who have 
themselves made the experiment, with hardly an excep- 
tion, are decidedly in favor of a vegetable regimen for 
all classes of mankind, particularly the sedentary. And 
in regard to the necessity of diminishing the proportion 
of animal food consumed by all classes, there seems to 
be but one voice. 

On one more important point there is a very general 
concurrence of opinion. I allude to the choice of arti- 
cles from the vegetable kingdom. The farinacea are 
considered as the best ; especially wheat, ground with- 
out bolting. The preference of Dr. Preston is an ex- 
ception ; and there are one or two others. 

On the whole — I repeat it — the testimony is far more 
favorable to the " prescribed course of regimen," both 
for the healthy and diseased than under the circum- 


Stances connected with tFie inquiry the most tliorougli- 
going vegetable eater could possibly have anticipated. 
If this is a fair specimen — and I know no reason why it 
may not be regarded as such — of the results of similar 
experiments and similar observations among medical 
men throughout our country, could their observations 
and experiments be collected, it certainly confirms the 
views which some among us have long entertained on 
this subject, and which will be still more strongly con- 
firmed by evidence which will be produced in the fol- 
lowing chapters. Had similar efforts been made forty 
or fifty years ago, to ascertain the views of physicians 
and others respecting the benefits or safety of exclud- 
ing wine and other fermented drinks in the treatment 
of several diseases, in which not one in ten of our 
modern practitioners would now venture to use them, 
as well as among the healthy, I believe the results 
would have been of a very diflferent character. The 
opinions, at least, of the physicians themselves, would 
most certainly have been, nearly without a dissenting 
voice, that the entire rejection of wine and fermented 
liquors was dangerous to the sick, and unsafe to many 
of the healthy, especially the hard laborer. And there 
is quite as much reason to believe that animal food will 
be discarded from our tables in the progress of a cen- 
tury to come, as there was, in 1800, for believing that 
all drinks but water would be laid aside in the progress 
of the century which is now passing. 




Letter from Dr. H. A. Barrows.— Dr. J. M. B. Harden.— Dr. J. Porter.— Dr. N. J 
Knight— Dr. Lester Keep. — Second letter from Dr. Keep. — ^Dr. Henry H. Brown. 
—Dr. Franklin Knox.— From a Physician.— Additional atatements by tho Author. 

During the years 1837 and 1838 I wrote to several 
of the physicians whose names, experiments, and facts 
appear in Chapter 11. Their answers, so far as re- 
ceived, are now to be presented. 

1 have also received interesting letters from several 
other physicians in New England and elsewhere — but 
particularly in New England — on the same general 
subject, which, with an additional statement of my own 
case, I have added to the foregoing. I might have 
added a hundred authentic cases, of similar import. I 
might also have obtained an additional amount of the 
same sort of intelligence, had it not been for the want 
of time, amid numerous other pressing avocations, for 
correspondence of this kind. Besides, if what I have 
obtained is not satisfactory, I have many doubts 
whether more would be so. 

The first letter I shall insert is from Dr. H. A. Bar- 
rows, of Phillips, in Maine. It is dated October 10, 
1837, and may be considered as a sequel to that writ- 
ten by him to Dr. North, though it is addressed to the 
author of this volume. 

0R« BAEEOWa. 67 


Dear Sir, — ^As to food, my course of living has been 
quite uniform for the last two or three years — princi- 
pally as follows. Wheat meal bread, potatoes, butter, 
and baked sweet apples for breakfast and dinners ; for 
suppers, old dry flour bread, which, eaten very leisure- 
ly without butter, sauce, or drink, sits the lightest and 
best of any thing I eat. But I cannot make this my 
principal diet, because the bowels will not act {without 
physic) unless they have the spur of wheat bran two 
thirds of the time. I have at times practiced going to 
bed without any third meal; and have found myself 
amply rewarded for this kind of fasting, and the conse- 
quent respite thereby afforded the stomach, in quiet 
sleep and improved condition the next day. And as to 
drink, I still use cold water, which I take with as great 
a zest, and as keen a relish, as the inebriate does his 
stimulus. I seldom drink any thing with my meals; 
and if I could live without drinking any thing between 
meals, I think I should be rid of the principal *^ thorn in 
my side," the acetous fermentation so constantly going 
on in my epigastric storehouse. 

As to exercise, I take abundance; perform all my 
practice (except in the winter) on horseback, and find 
this the very best kind of exercise for me. I seldom 
eat oftener than at intervals of six hours, and am apt to 
eat too much — have at various times attempted Don 
Comaro's method of weighing food, but have found it 
rather dry business, probably on account of its conflict- 
ing with my appetite ; but I actually find that my stom- 
ach does not bear watching at nil well. 


My brother continues to practice nearly total absti- 
nence from animal food. I have seen him but once in 
two and a half years, but learn his health has greatly 
improved, so that he was able to take charge of a high 
school in the fall of 1836, of an academy in the spring 
of the present year, and also again this fall. During 
his vacation last July, he took a tour into the interior 
of Worcester county, Mass., and came home entirely 
on foot by way of the Notch of the White Hills, travel- 
ing nearly three hundred miles. This speaks something 
in favor of rigid abstinence — as when he commenced 
this regimen he was extremely low. 

Yours sincerely, H A. Barrows. 


Georgia, Liberty Co., Oct 19, 1837. 

Dear Sir, — ^I stated in my letter to Dr. North, if I 
recollect correctly, that the use of animal food was re- 
sumed in consequence of a protracted indisposition 
brought on, as was supposed^ by the inhalation of ar- 
seniuretted hydrogen gas. The gentleman had begun 
to recover some time previously ; and in a short time 
after he commenced the use of the animal food, he was 
restored to his usual health. He has continued the use 
of it ever since to the same extent as in the former part 
of his life.^ He has lately passed his fifty-fifth year, and 
is now in the enjoyment of as good health as he has 
ever known. 

I know of a gentleman in an adjoining county, who 
with his lady has been living for some time past on a 



purely vegetable diet. They have not continued it long 
enough, however, to make the experiment a fair one. 

No case of injury from the inhalation of arseniuretted 
hydrogen has come under my own personal observation, 
if we except the one above alluded to. I find, however, 
that Gehlen, a celebrated French chemist, fell a victim 
to it in the year 1815. His death is thus announced in 
the " Philosophical Magazine" for that year. " We 
lament to have to announce the death of Gehlen, many 
years the editor of an excellent Journal on Chemistry 
and other sciences, and a profound chemist. He fell a 
victim to his ardent desire to promote the advancement 
of chemical knowledge. He was preparing, in com- 
pany with Mr. Rehland, his colleague, some arsenated 
hydrogen gas, and while watching for the full develop- 
ment of this air from its acid solution, trying every mo- 
ment to judge from its particular smell when that opera- 
tion would be completed, he inhaled the fatal poison 
which has robbed science of his valuable services." 
Vide Tillock's Phil. Mag., vol. 46, p. 316. Some further 
notice is taken of his death in a paper extracted from 
the ''Annates de Chimie et de Physique," and published 
in a subsequent volume of the same Magazine. Vide 
vol. 49, p. 280, in which are given his last experiments 
on that subject, by M. Gay Lussac. I regret that no 
account is given in the same work of the symptoms 
arising from the poison in his case. I presume, how- 
ever, they are on record. 

In the subject of the case I mention, the general and 
prominent symptoms were an immediate and great 
diminution of muscular strength, with pallor of counte- 
nance and constant febricula, the arteries of the head 
beating with violence, particularly when lying down at 


night, the pulse always moderately increased in fre- 
quency, and full, but not tense ; and digestion for the 
most part good. This state continued for about three 
months, during which time he was attending to his usual 
business, although not able to take as much exercise as 
before. At the end of this time he began to recaver 
slowly, but it was six months before he was restored 

Yours, etc., John M B Hardbn. 


NoKTH Brookfibld, Oct 26, 1887. 

Though I would by no means favor the propensity 
for book-making, so prevalent in our day, yet I have 
been long of the opinion that a work on vegetable diet 
for general readers was greatly needed. I need it in 
my family ; and there are many others in this vicinity 
who would be materially benefited by such a work. 

I have had no means of ascertaining the good or bad 
effects of a "diet exclusively vegetable in cases of phthi- 
sis, scrofula, and dyspepsia," for I have had none of the 
above diseases to contend with. But, since your letter 
was received, I have been called to prescribe for a man 
who has been a flesh eater for more than half a century. 
He was confined to his house, had been losing strength 
for several months, still keeping up his old habits. The 
disease which was preying upon him was chronic in- 
flammation of the right leg ; the flesh had been so long 
swollen and inflamed that it had become hard to the 
touch. There were ulcers on his thigh, and some had 
made their appearance on the hip. This disease had 


been uf seven months^ standing, though not in so aggra- 
vated a form as it now appeared. During this time, all 
the local applications had been made that could be 
thought of by the good ladies in the neighborhood ; and 
after every thing of the kind had failed, they concluded 
to send for ** the doctor.** 

After examining the patient attentively, I became con- 
vinced that the disease, which developed itself locally, 
was of a constitutional origin, and of course could not 
be cured by local remedies. All local applications were 
discontinued ; the patient was put on a vegetable diet 
after the alimentary canal was freely evacuated. I saw 
this man three days afterward. The dark purple ap- 
pearance of the leg had somewhat subsided ; the red 
and angry appearance about the base of the ulcers was 
gone, his strength improved, etc. Three days after I 
called, I found him in his garden at work. 

He is now — two weeks since my first prescription — 
— almost well. All the ulcers have healed, with the ex- 
ception of one or two. This man, who thinks it wicked 
not to use the good things God has given us — such as 
meat, cider, tobacco, etc. — is very willing to subsist, for 
the present, on vegetable food, because he finds it tht 
only remedy for his disease. 

Early in the spring of 1830, while a student at Am- 
herst College, I was attacked with dyspepsia, which 
rendered my life wretched for more than a year, and 
finally drove me from college ; biat it had now so com- 
pletely gained the mastery, that no means I resorted to 
for relief afforded even a palliation of my sufferings. 
After I had suffered nearly two years in this way, I was 
made more wretched, if possible, by frequent attacks of 
colic, with pains and crannfps extending to my back ; 


and 80 severe had these pains become, that the pre- 
scriptions of the most eminent physicians afforded only 
partial relief. 

On the 13th of February, 1833, after suffering from 
the most violent paroxysm I had ever endured, I left 
my home for Brunswick, Maine, to attend a course of 
medical lectures. For several days I boarded at a pub- 
lic house, and ate freely of several substantial dishes that 
were before me. The consequence was a fresh attack 
of colic. From some circumstances that came up at 
this time, I was convinced that flesh meats had much to 
do with my sufferings, and the resolution was formed at 
once to change my diet and " starve" out dyspepsia. 

1 took a room by myself, and made arrangements for 
receiving a pint of milk per day ; this, with coarse rye 
and Indian bread, constituted, my only food. After liv- 
ing in this way a week or two, I had a free and natural 
evacuation. Thus nature began to effect what medicine 
alone had done for nearly three years. The skin became 
moist, and my voracious appetite began to subside. I 
returned home to my friends at the close of the term 
well^ and have been well ever since — have never had a 
colic pain or any costiveness since that time. My 
powers of digestion are good, and though I do not live 
so rigidly now as when at Brunswick, I always feel best 
when my food is vegetables and milk. I can endure 
fatigue and exposure as well as any man. On this mild 
diet, too, my muscular strength has considerably in- 
creased ; and every day is adding new vigor to my 

Having experienced so much benefit from a mild diet, 
and being rationally convinced that man was a fruit- 
eating animal naturally, I made my views public by a 

Dft. PORTEK. 73 

course of lectures on physiology, which I delivered in 
the Lyceum soon after I came to this place (three years 
ago). The consequence was, that quite a number of 
those who heard my lectures commenced training their 
fanvilies as well as themselves to the use of vegetables, 
etc., and 1 am happy to inform you that, at this day, 
many of our most active influential business-doing men 
are living in the plainest and most simple manner. 

One of my neighbors has taken no flesh for more than 
three years. He is of the ordinary height, and sanguine 
temperament, and usually weighed, when he ate flesh, 
one hundred and eighty pounds. After he changed his 
diet, his countenance began to change, and his cheeks 
fell in ; and his meat-eating friends had serioiis appre- 
hensions that he would survive but a short time, unless 
he returned to his former habits. But he persevered, 
and is now more vigorous and more athletic than any 
man in the region, or than he himself has ever been be- 

His muscular strength is very great. A few days 
since, a number of the most athletic young men in our 
village were trying their strength at lifting a cask of 
lime, weighing five hundred pounds. All failed to do it, 
with the exception of one, who partly raised it from the 
ground. After they were gone, this vegetable eater 
without any difficulty raised the cask four or five times. 
More than three years ago this man lost his daughter, 
who fell a prey to cholera infantum ; he has now a 
daughter rather more than a year old, whom he has 
trained on strictly physiological principles ; and though 
very feeble at birth, and for three months subsequently, 
she is now the most healthy child in the town. This 
child had some of the first symptoms of consumption 


last August, owing to the too free indulgence of the 
mother in improper articles of food ; but being treated 
with demulcents, at the same time correcting the mo- 
ther's system, she recovered, and is now the " picture of 

I was conversing with this gentleman the other day 
respecting his health — says he is perfectly well, weighs 
one hundred and sixty-five pounds ; and though he was 
called well when eating flesh, he was not so in reality ; 
for every few weeks he was troubled with headache and 
a sense of fullness in the region of the stomach, for 
which he was obliged to take an active cathartic. For 
a few months before he adopted the vegetable system, 
he had decided symptoms of congesticm in the head, 
such as precede apoplexy. I questioned him as to his 
appetite. He informed me, that when he ate meat he 
had such an unconquerable desire for food about eleven 
o'cloc||[, that he could not wait till noon. This he' calls 
"meat hunger,** for it disappeared soon after he came to 
the present style of living. He has no craving now ; 
but when he begins to eat, the zest is exquisite. 

Yours, Joshua Porter. 


Dated at Truro, October, 1837. 

Dr. Alcott : Sir, — ^I hasten to comply so far with 
your request as to show my decided approbation of a 
fruit and farinaceous diet, both in health and sickness. 
The manner in which nutritious vegetables are pre- 
sented to us for our consumption and support, evince to 
a demonstration the simplicity of our corporeal systems. 


Through every medium of correct information, ve learn 
that the most distinguished men, both in ancient and 
modern times, were pre-eminently distinguished for their 
abstemiousness, and the simplicity of their diet. 

It was not, however, a consideration of this kind that 
first induced me to relinquish flesh meat ar»d fish. Some 
three years previous to my forming a determination to 
subsist upon farinncea, I hac been laboring under an 
aggravated case of dyspepsia ; and about six months 
previous, also, an attack of acute rheumatism. 

I was harassed with constant constipation of the 
bowels, and ejection of food after eating, together with 
occasional pain in the head. 

Under all these circumstances, I came to this deter- 
mination, which I committed to paper : " November 9, 
1831. This day ceased from strengthening this mortal 
body by any part of that which ever drew breath." 
To the above I rigidly adhered until last November, 
when my health had become so perfect that I thought 
myself invincible, so far as disenso was concerned. 
All pains and aches had left me, and all the functions of 
the body seemed to be performed in a healthy manner. 

My diet had consisted of rye and Indian bread, stale 
flour bread, sweet bread without shortening, milk, some 
ripe fruit, and occasionally a little butter. 

During this time, while I devoted myself to consider- 
able laborious practice and hard study, there was no 
deficiency of muscular strergth or mental energy. I 
am fully satisfied my mind was never so active and 

Since last November I have, at times, taken animal 
food, in order that I might be absolutely satisfied that 
my mode of living acted decidedly in favor of my per- 


feci health, and that a <iifferent course would produce 
organic derangennent. 

1 had only taken animal food about two months after 
the usual custom, before I had a severe attack, and only 
escaped an inflammatory fever by the most rigid anti- 
phlogistic treatment. 

I again lived as I ought, and felt well ; and having 
continued so some time, I resorted the second time to 
an animal diet. 

In two months' time, I was taken with the urticaria 
febrilis, of Bateman, which lasted me more than two 
weeks, and my suffering was sufficient to forever ex- 
clude from my stomach every kind of animal food. 

I am now satisfied, to all intents and purposes, that 
mankind would live longer, and enjoy more perfectly 
the "sane mind in a sound body," should they never 
taste flesh meat or fish. 

A simple farinaceous diet I have ever found more 
efficient in the cure of chronic complaints, where there 
was not much organic lesion, than every other medical 

Mrs. A., infected with scrofula of the left breast, and 
in a state of ulceration, applied to me two years since. 
The ulcer was then the size of a half-dollar, and dis- 
charged a considerable quantity of imperfect pus. The 
axillary glands were much enlarged, and, doubting the 
practicability of operating with the knife in such cases, 
I told her the danger of her disease, and ordered her to 
subsist upon bread and milk and some fruit, drink water, 
and keep the body of as uniform temperature as possi- 
ble. I ordered the sore to be kept clean by ablutions of 
tepid water. In less than three months, the ulcer was 
'^M healed, and her general health murh improved. The 

DR. XEEP. 77 

axillary giands are still enlarged, though less so than 

She still lives simply, and enjoys good health ; but 
she tells me if she tastes flesh meat, it produces a 
iwmging in the breast. 

Many cases, like the above, have come under my ob- 
servation and immediate attention, and suffice it to say, 
I have never failed to ameliorate the condition of every 
individual that has applied to me, who was suffering 
under chronic affections, if they would follow my pre- 
scriptions — unless the system was incapable of reaction. 
Yours, truly, N. J. Knight. 


Fair Haven, Jan. 22, 1838. 

Dear Sir, — Agreeably to your request, I will inform 
you that from September, 1834, to June, 1836, 1 used no 
meat at all, except occasionally in my intercourse with 
society, I used a little to avoid attracting notice. 

When I commenced my studies, life was burdensome. 
I knew not, for months, and I may say years, what en- 
joyment comfortable health affords. In a great many 
ways I can now see that I very greatly erred in my 
course of living. I am surprised that the system will 
hold out in its powers during so long a process in the 
use of what I should now consider the means best cal- 
culated to break it down. 

I cannot now particularize. But in college, and dur- 
ing my professional studies, and since, durini^ six or 
eight years of practice in an arduous profession, I have 
been greatly guilty, and neglected those means best cal- 


culaled to promote and preserve health ; and used those 
means best fitted to destroy it. The summers of 1832, 
1833, and 1834, wei-e pretty much lost, from wretched 
health. I was growing worse every year, and no medi- 
cines that I could prepare for myself, or thjit were pre- 
scribed by various brother physicians, had any thing 
more than a temporary effect to relieve me. All of the 
year 1834, until September, I used opium for relief; 
and I used three and four grains of sulphate of morphine 
per day, equal to about sixteen gi'ains of opium. Spirit, 
wine, and ale I had tried, and journeys* through many 
portions of the State of Maine, with the hope that a 
more northern climate would invigorate and restore a 
system that I feared was broken down forever, and that 
at the age of thirty-seven. . But, without further preniii- 
ble, I will say, I omitted at once and entirely the use of 
tea, coffee, meat, butter, grease of all sorts, cakes, pies, 
etc., wine, cider, spirits, opium (which I feared I must 
use as long as I lived), and tobacco, the use of which I 
learned in college. Of course, from so sudden and so 
great a change, a most horrid condition must ensue for 
many days, for the relief of Which I used the warm bath 
at first several times a day. I had set no time to omit 
these articles, and made lo resolutions, except to give 
this course a trial, to find out whether I had many 
native powers of system left, arnd what was their char- 
acter and condition when unaffected by the list of 
agents mentioned. 

I pursued this plan of living faithfully for one year 
and a half, and with unspeakable joy I found a gradual 
return of original vigor and health. Now, I cannot say 
that the omission of meat of all kinds, for a year nnd a 
half, caused this improvement in hoallh; it is pu^s.bie 

DR. KEEP. 79 

that it had but little to do with it. I know I was guilty 
of many bad habits ; and probably all combined caused 
my bad condition. 

At the close of the year and a half, I married my 
present second wife, and then commenced living as do 
others, in most respects, and continued this course most 
of the time until I received your letter. I then again 
omitted the use of all animal food, tea, coffee, and 
tobacco ; and for the last month, it is a clear case, my 
health is better ; that is, more vigorous to bear cold. I 
also bear labor and care better. 

I have not investigated the subject of dietetics very 
much, but I have no doubt that the inhabitants of our 
whole land make loo much use of animal food. No 
doubt it obstructs the vital powers, and tends to un- 
balance the healthful play and harmony of the various 
organs and their functions. There is too much nutri- 
ment in a small space. An unexpected quantity is 
taken ; for with most people a sense of fullness is the 
test of a sufficient quantity. 

I am satisfied that I am better without animal food 
than with the quantity I ordinarily use. If I should use 
but a small quantity once or twice a day, it is possible 
it would not be injurious. This I have not tried ; for I 
am so excessively fond of meat, that I always eat more 
than a small quantity, when I eat it at all. Healthy« 
vigorous men, day laborers in the field, or forest, may 
perhaps require some meat to sustain the system, during 
hard and exhausting labor. Of this I cannot say. 

I am now pretty well convinced, from two or three 
years' observation, that a large portion of my business, 
as a physician, arises from intemperance in the use of 
food. Too much and too rich nutriment is used, 


and my constant business is, to counteract its bad 

Two cases are now in mind of the great benefit of 
dieting for the recovery of health, the particulars of 
which I cannot now give you. One of them I think 
would be willing to speak for himself on the subject. 
I am, sir, yours, etc., Lester Keep. 


Fair Haven, Ct., Jan. 26, 1838. 

Sir, — Since I wrote you, a few days ago, I have 
learned of several individuals who have, for some length 
of time, used no flesh meat at all. 

Amos Townsend, Cashier of the New Haven Bank, 
has, as I am told, lived almost entirely upon bread, 
crackers, or something of that kind, and but little of that. 
He can dictate a letter, count money, and hold conver- 
sation with an individual, all at the same time, with no 
embarrassment ; and I know him to have firm health. 

Our minister. Rev. B. L. Swan, during the whole of two 
years of his theological studies at Princeton, made crack- 
ers and water his only food, and was in good health. 

Mr. Hanover Bradley, of this village, who has been 
several years a missioiiary among the Indians, has, for 
I think, eight or ten years, lived entirely on vegetable 
food. He had been long a dyspeptic. 

There are some other cases of less importance, and 
probably very many in New Haven ; but I am situated 
a wwle frpm the city, and have never inquired for veg- 
etable livers. 

Yours, etc., Lester Keep. 



West Randolph, Vt., Feb. 3, 1838. 

Dear Sir, — It has been about two years and a half 
since I adopted an exclusively vegetable diet, with no 
drink but water ; and my food has been chiefly prepared 
by the most simple forms of cookery. Previously to this, 
I used a large proportion of flesh meat, and drank tea and 
coffee. I had much impaired my health by such indul- 
gences. I hardly need to say that my health has great- 
ly improved, and is now quite good and uniform. 

I think that physicians, in prescribing for the removal 
of disease, should pay much more regard to the diet of 
their patients, and administer less of powerful medicine, 
than is customary with gentlemen of this profession at 

Yours, etc., Henry H. Brown. 


KiNSTON,* N. C, June 23, 1837. 

Dear Sir, — Your letter of the 22d July has been 
hitherto unanswered, through press of business. 

I consider an exclusive vegetable diet as of the ut- 
most consequence in most diseases, especially in those 
chronic affections or morbid states of the system which 
are not commonly considered as diseases ; and I think 
that, in these cases, such a diet is too often overlooked, 
even by physicians. 

Yours, truly, P. Knox. 

* Dr. Knox has since removed to St. Louis, Missouri. 



[The following letter, received last autumn, is from a 
medical gentleman, in a distant part of the country, 
whose namQ, for particular reasons, we stand pledged 
not to give to the world. The facts, however, may be 
relied on; and they are exceedingly important and in- 

Deae Sir, — Your letter was duly received. I pro- 
ceed to say that, since I settled in this town, my attacks 
of epilepsy* have occurred in the following order : 


Nov. 18. One at 11 P. M. Severe. 

i( j9, i( i( i( 

'' 24. Nineteen, from 4 A. M. to 3 P. M. Frightful. 
Jan. 13. One at 4 A. M. ) 

" 15. " " V Milder. 

" 16. Two at 2 and 4 A. M. ) 

Thus it appears that I have enjoyed a longer immu- 
nity since the last, than for some years prior. I have 
maintained total abstinence from flesh, fish, or fowl, for 
two and a half years, namely, from March 1835 to the 
present time. That this happy immunity from a most 
obstinate disease is to be attributed solely to my absti- 
nence from animal food, I do not feel prepared to as- 
sert ; but that my general health has been better, my 
attacks of disease far milder, my vigor of mind and 
body greater, my mental perceptions clearer and more 
acute, and my enjoyment of life, on the whole, very 
essentially increased, I am fully prepared to prove. 

* The reader will find another remarkable cure of epilepsy in a subse- 
quent chapter of this volume. The case was that of Dr. Taylor, of Eng- 


I have, however, found it nearly as essential for me 
to abstain from many kinds of vegetable food as from 
animal, namely, from all kinds of flatulent vegetables ; 
from all kinds of fruits and berries, except the very 
mildest — as, perfectly ripe and well baked sweet apples 
— and from all kinds of 'pies, sauces, and preserves* 
Of these, however* I am not able to say, as 1 do of the 
animal varieties, that I have practiced total abstinence ; 
by no means. I have often ventured to indulge, and 
generally suffer more or less for my temerity. My 
severest suflferings for the last two years have been in 
the form of colic, of which I have had frequent slight 
attacks ; but none to confine me over twenty-four hours. 


From the age of five or six months to that of two 
years, I was literally crammed with flesh meat; usu- 
ally of the most gross kind. Such a course was be- 
lieved, by the fond parents and others, as likely to be 
productive of the most healthful and happy conse- 
quences. The result was an accumulation of adipose 
substance, that rendered me one of the most unsightly, 
not to say monstrous productions of nature. I ought 
not to say nature, perhaps ; for, if not perverted, she 
produces no such monsters. At the age of six months, 
my weight was twenty-five pounds ; and it rose soon 
after to thirty or more. 

When I was about two years of age, I had the 
whooping-cough, and, having been brought up to the 
height, and more than the height of my condition, by 

* See pages 13 and 23. 


over-feeding with fat meat, I suffered exceedingly. 
recovered, at length, but 1 had lost my relish, as I ann 
informed, for flesh meat ; and from this time till the age 
of fourteen, I seldom ate any but the leanest muscle. 1 
was tolerably healthy, but, from the age of two years, 
was slender ; so much so that, at five or six, I only 
weighed fifty pounds ; and was constantly either found 
fault with, or pitied, because I did not eat meat in qual- 
ity and quantity like other people. Nor was it without 
much effort, even at the age of fourteen, that I could 
brinsr myself to be reconciled to it. I was also trained 
to the enrly use of much cider, arid to the moderate use 
of tea and spirits. I have spoken of my slender consti- 
tution ; — I believe this was in part the result of exces- 
sive early labor, and. that it was not wholly owing to a 
premature use of flesh meat. 

I had suffered so much, however, from the belief that 
I wns feeble from the latter cause, that I had no sooner 
become reconciled to the use of flesh and fish — which 
was at the age of fourteen — than I indulged in it quite 
freely. About this time I had a severe attack of mea- 
sles, which came very near carrying me off. I was 
left with anasarca, or general dropsy, and with weak 
eyes. To cure the former the physicians plied me, for 
a long time, with blue pill, and with mercurial medi- 
cine in other forms, and also with digitalis ; and finally 
filled my stomach to overflowing with diuretic drinks. 
However, in spite of them all, I recovered during the 
next year; except that a oundation was laid for pre- 
mature decay of the teeth, and for a severe eruptive 
disease. This last, and the weakness of the eyes, were, 
for some time, very troublesome. 

The eruptive complaint was soon discovered to be 


less severe, even in hot weather, and while I was using 
a great deal of exercise, in proportion as 1 abstained 
from all drinks but water, and ate none but mild food. 
Owing to the discovery of this^fact and to other causes, 
I chiefly discontinued the use of stimulating food and 
drink, during the hottest part of the season ; though I 
committed much error in regard to the quantity of my 
food, and drank quite too freely of cold water. Still I 
always found my health best, and my body and miud 
most vigorous at the end of summer, or the beginning 
of autumn, notwithstanding the very hard labor to 
which I was subjected on the farm. This increase of 
vigor was, at that time, attributed chiefly to a (vee use 
of summer fruits ; for, so deeply had the belief been 
infixed by early education, that highly stimulating food 
and drink were indispensable to the full health and 
strength of mankind, and especially to people who were 
laboring hard, that, though I sometimes suspected they 
were not true friends to the human system, my con- 
science always condemned the suspicion, and pro- 
nounced me guilty of a species of high treason for har- 
boring it. 

This brings up my dietetic history, to the period at 
which it commences, in the letter to Dr. North. The 
study of medicine, however, from the age of twenty- 
four to twenty-seven, and the subsequent study and 
practice of it for a few years, joined to the changes I 
made at the same time in my physical habits, and my 
observations on their effects, led me to reject, one after 
another, and one group after another, the whole tribe 
of extra stimulants — solid and fluid. 

The sequel of my story remains to be told. It is 
now nearly fifteen years since I wrote the letter, which 


is found at page 23d, to Dr. North. During this long 
period, and for several years before, amounting, in all, 
to about nineteen years, I have not only abstained en- 
tirely from flesh, fish, and fowl — not having eaten a 
pound of any one of these during the whole time, ex- 
cept the very few pounds I used in the time of the first 
visitation of our country with cholera, as before men- 
tioned — but I have almost entirely abstained from but- 
ter, cheese, eggs, and milk. Butter, especially, I never 
taste at all. The occasional use of milk, in very small 
quantities, once a day, has, however, been resorted to ; 
not from necessity, indeed, or to gratify any strong de- 
sire or inclination for it, but from a conviction of its 
happy medicinal effects on my much-injured frame. 
Hot food of every kind, and liquids, with the exception 
just made, I rarely touch. Nearly every thing is taken 
in <is solid a form and in as simple a state as possible ; 
with no condiments, except a very little salt, and with 
no sweets, sauces, gravies, jellies, preserves, etc. I 
seldom use more than one sort of food at a time, unless 
it be to add fruit as a second article ; and this is rarely 
done, except in the morning. I have for ten or twelve 
years used no drinks with my meals ; and sometimes 
for months together have had very little thirst at all.* 

* This fact, and certain discussions on the subject of temperance, led 
me to abstain, about the years 1841 and 1842, entirely from all drink for 
a long time. Indeed, I made two of these experiments ; in one of which 
I abstained nine months and nineteen days, and in the other fourteen 
months and one or two days ; except that in the latter case I ate, liter- 
ally, for one or two successive days, while working hard at haying, one 
or two bowls a day of bread and water. But these were experiments 
merely — the experiments made by a medical man who preferred making 
experiments on himself to making them on others ; and they never do- 
served the misconstruction which was pnt upon tliem by several persons, 
who, in other respects, were very sensible men. *• The author" never 
believed with Dr. Lambe, of London, that ma'.i U not n drinking aniraaL 


And as to the effects, they are such, and have air 
along been such, as to make me wonder at myself, 
whenever I think of it. Instead of being constantly 
subject to cold, and nearly dying with consumption in 
the spring, I am almost free from any tendency to take 
cold at all. During the winter of 1837-^, by neglecting 
to keep the temperature of my room low enough, and 
by neglecting also to take sufficient exercise in the open 
air, I became unusually tender, and suffered to some ex- 
tent from colds. But I was well again during the 
spring, and felt as if I had recovered or nearly recov- 
ered my former hardihood. 

In regard to other complaints, I may say still more. 
Of rheumatism, I have scarcely had a twinge in twelve 
or fourteen years. My eruptive complaint is, I believe, 
entirely gone. The weakness of my eyes has been 
wholly gone for many years. Indeed, the strength and 
perfection of my sight and of all my senses, till nearly 
fifty years of age — hearing perhaps excepted, in which 
I perceive no alteration — appeared to be constantly im- 
proving. My stomach and intestines perform their re- 
spective duties in the most appropriate, correct, and 
healthful manner. My appetite is constantly good, and 
as constantly improving; — that is, going on toward 
perfection. I can detect, especially by taste, almost 
any thing which is in the least offensive or delete- 
rious in food or drink ; and yet I can receive, without 
immediate apparent disturbance, and readily digest, al- 
most any thing which ever entered a human stomach — 
knives, pencils, clay, chalk, etc., perhaps excepted. I 
can eat a full meal of cabbage, or any other very ob- 
jectionable crude aliment, or even cheese or pastry — a 
single meal, I mean — with apparent impunity ; not when 


fatigued, of course, or in «ny way debilitated, but in the 
morning and when in full strength. It is true, I make 
no experiments of this sort, except occasionally as ex- 

In my former statements I gave it as my opinion that 
vegetable food was less aperient than animal. My 
opinion now is, that if we were trained on vegetable 
food, and had never received substances into tht5 stom- 
ach which were unduly stimulating, we should find the 
intestinal or peristaltic action quite sufiicient. The ap- 
parent sluggishness of the bowels, when we first ex- 
change an animal diet for a vegetable one, is probably 
owing to our former abuses. At present, I find my 
plain vegetable food, in moderate and reasonable quan- 
tity, quite as aperient as it ought to be, and, if I exceed 
a proper quantity, too much so. 

I have now no remaining doubts of the vast impor- 
tance that would result to mankind, from an universal 
training from childhood, to the exclusive use of vegeta- 
ble food. I believe such a course of training, along 
with a due attention to air, exercise, cleanliness, etcT, 
would be the means of improving our race, physically, 
intellectually, and morally, beyond any thing of which 
the world has yet conceived. But my reasons for this 
belief will be seen more fully in another place. They 
are founded in science and the observation of facts 
around me, much more than on a narrow individual 

There is one circumstance which I must not omit, 
because it is full of admonition and instruction. I have 
elsewhere stated that, twenty-three years ago, I had in- 
cipient phthisis. Of this fact, and of the fact that there 
were considerable inroads made by disease on the up- 


per lube ol'lhe right lung, 1 liave not the slightest doubt. 
The symptoms were such at the time, and subsequently, 
us could not have been mistaken. Besides, what was, 
as I conceive, pretty fully established by the symptoms 
which existed, is rendered still more certain by auscul- 
tation. The sounds which are heard during respira- 
tion, in the region to which I have alluded, leave no 
doubt on the minds of skillful medical men, of their ori- 
gin. Still I doubt whether the disease has made any 
considerable progress for many years. 

But, during the winter of 1837-8, my employments 
became excessively laborious ; and, for the whole win- 
ter and spring, were sufficient for at least two healthy 
and strong men. They were also almost wholly seden- 
tary. At the end of May, I took a long and rather fa- 
tiguing journey through a country by no means the 
most healthy, and came home somewhat depressed in 
mind and body, especially the former. I was also un- 
usually emaciated, and I began to have fears of a de- 
cline. Still, however, my appetite was good, and I had 
a good share of bodily strength. The more I directed 
my attention to myself, the worse I became ; and 1 
actually soon began to experience darting pains in the 
chest, together with other symptoms of a renewal of 
pulmonary disease. Perceiving my danger, however, 
from the state of my mind, I at length made a powerful 
effort to shake off the mental disturbance — which suc- 
ceeded. This, together with moderate labor and rather 
more exercise than before, seemed gradually to set me 

Again, in the spring of 1848, after lecturing for weeks 
and months — often in bad and unveiitilated rooms — and 
subjecting myself, unavoidably, to many of those abuses 


which exist every where in society, I was attacked with 
a cough, followed by great debility, from which it cost 
me some three months or more of labor with the spade 
and hoe, to recover. With this and the exceptions be- 
fore named, I have now, for about twenty years, been 
as healthy as ever I was in my life, except the slight 
tendency to cold during the winter of which I have al- 
ready taken notice. I never was more cheerful or 
more happy ; never saw the world in a brighter aspect ; 
never before was it more truly " morning all day** with 
me. I have paid, in part, the penalty of my transgres- 
sions; and may, perhaps, go on, in life, many years 

I now fear nothing in the future, so far as health and 
disease are concerned, so much as excessive alimenta- 
tion. To this evil — and it is a most serious and common 
one in this land of abundance and busy activity — I am 
much exposed, both from the keenness of my appetite, 
and the exceeding richness of the simple vegetables and 
fruits of which I partake. But, within a few years past, 
I seem to have gotten the victory, in a good measure, 
even in this respect. By eating only a few simple dishes 
at a time, and by measuring or weighing them with the 
eye — for I weigh them in no other way — I am usually 
able to confine myself to nearly the proper limits. 

This caution, and these efforts at self-government, are 
not needed because their neglect involves any immediate 
suffering ; for, as I have already stated, there was never 
a period in my life before, when I was so completely in- 
dependent — apparently so, I mean — of external circum- 
stances. I can eat what I please, and as much or as 
little as I please. I can observe set hours, or be very 
irregular. I can use a pretty extensive variety at the 



same meal, and a still greater variety at different meals, 
or I can live perpetually on a single article — nay, on 
almost any thing which could be named in the animal 
or vegetable kingdom — and be perfectly contented and 
happy in the use of it. I could in short, eat, work, 
think, sleep, converse, or play almost all the while ; or 
I couM abstain from any or all of these, almost all the 
while. Let me be understood, however. I do not 
mean to say that either of these courses would be best 
for me, in the end ; but only that I have so far attained 
to independence of external circumstances that, for a 
time, I believe I should be able to do or bear all I have 

One thing more, in this connection, and I shall have 
finished my remarks. I sleep too little ; but it is be- 
cause I allow my mind to run over the world so much, 
and lay so many schemes for human improvement or 
for human happiness ; and because I allow my sympa- 
thies to become so deeply enlisted in human suffering 
and human woe. I should be most healthy, in the end, 
by spending six hours or more in sleep ; whereas I do 
not probably exceed four or five. I have indeed ob- 
tained a respite from the grave of twenty- three years, 
through a partial repentance and amendment of life, and 
the mercy of God ; but did I obey all his laws as well 
as I do a part of them, I know of no reason why my 
life might not be lengthened, not merely fifteen years, 
as was Hezekiah's, or twenty-three merely, but fortv or 




General Remarks. — ^I'estimony of Dr. Chcyne.— Dr. Geoffroy — Vanqoelin and P«rcj. 
— Dr. remberton. — Sir John Sinclair. — Dr. James. — Dr. Cranstoun. — Dr. Taylor.— 
Drs, Uufeland and Abernethy. — Sir Gilbert Blane. — Dr. Gregory. — Dr. Cnllen. — Dr. 
lludh. — Dr. Lambe. — Prof. Lawrence. — Dr. Salgues. — ^Author of ** Sure Methods.'* — 
Baron Cuvier.— Dr. Luther V. Bell.— Dr. Buchan.— Dr. Whitlaw.— Dr. CUrk.— 
I'rof. Musaey.— Drs. Bell and Condie.— Dr. J. V. C. Smith.— Mr. Graham.- Dr. J. 

M. Andrews, Jr. — Dr. Sweetser.— Dr. Pierson. — Physician in New York Females' 

Kucyclopedia. — Dr. Van Cuotb. — Dr. Beaumont.— Sir EvtrH>-d Home. — Dr. Jen- 
nings. — Dr. Jarvis. — Dr. 'ficknor. — Dr. Coles. — Dr. Shew. — ^Dr. Morrill. — Dr. Bell.— 
Dr. Jackson — Dr. Stephenson. — Dr. J. Burdell — Dr. Smethurst. — ^Dr. Schlemmer. 
—Dr. Curtis.— Dr. Porter. 


The number of physicians, and surgeons, and medical 
men, whose testimony is brought to bear on the subject 
of diet, in the chapter which follows, is by no means as 
great as it might have been. There are few writers on 
anntomy, physiology, materia medica, or disease, who 
have not, either directly^or indirectly, given their testi- 
mony in lavor of a mild and vegetable diet for persons 
affected with certain chronic diseases. And there is 
scarcely a writer on hygiene, or even on diet, who has 
not done much more than this, and at times hinted at 
the safety of such a diet for those who are in health ; 
particularly the studious and sedentary. But my object 
has been, not so much to collect all the evidence I could, 
as to make a judicious selection — a selection \Ahich 
should present the subject upon which it bears, in as 
many aspects as possible. I have aimed in general, 


also, Uj prooure I he testimony of intelligent and philan- 
ihrupic men ; or, ;it l^nst of men whose names have by 
some mejins or other been niready brought before the 
pubb'c. If there are a few exceptjpns to this rule, if a 
few are men whose names Imve been hitherto unknown, 
it is on account of the aspect, as I have already said, of 
their testimony, or on account of their peculiar position, 
as regards country, age of the world, etc., or to secure 
their authority for certain anecdotes or facts. 

In the arrangement of the testimony, I have been 
guided by no particular rule, unless it has been to pre- 
sent first that of some of the older and most accredited 
writers, such as Cheyne, Cullen, and Rush. The testi- 
nnony of certain living men and authors, particularly of 
our own country, has been presented toward the close 
of the chapter, and in a very brief and condensed form, 
from design. The propriety of inserting their names at 
all was for a time considered doubtful. It is believed, 
however, that they could not, in strict justice, have 
been entirely omitted. But let not the meagre sketch 
of their views I have given, satisfy us. We want a 
full development of their principles from their own pens 
— such a development as, I hd)^, will not long be with- 
held from a world which is famishing for the want of it. 
But now to the testimony. 


This distinguished physician, and somewhat volumi- 
nous writer, flourished mor« than a hundred year sago. 
He may justly be esteemed the father of what is now call- 
ed the " vegetable system" of living; althoufrh it is evi- 
dent he did not see every thing clearly. "In the early 
part of his life," says Prof. Hitchcock, in his work on 


Dyspepsia, " he was a voluptuary ; and before he at- 
tained to middle age, was so .corpulent that it was 
necessary to open the whole side of his carriage that he 
might enter; and he saw death inevitable, without a 
change of his course. He immediately abandoned all 
ardent spirits, wine, nnd fermented liquors, and confined 
himself wholly to milk, vegetables, and water. This 
course, with active exercise, reduced him from the 
enormous weight of four hundred and forty-eight 
pounds, to one hundred and forty; and restored his 
health and the vigor of his mind. After a few years, 
he ventured to change his abstemious diet for one more 
rich and stimulating. But the effect was a recurrence 
of his former corpulence and ill health. A return to milk, 
water, and vegetables restored him again ; and he con- 
tinued in uninterrupted health to the age of seventy-two." 

The following is his account of himself, at the age of 
about seventy : 

" It is now about sixteen years since, for the last time, 
I entered upon a milk and vegetable diet. At the be- 
ginning of this period, I took this light food as my ap- 
petite directed, without any measure, and found myself 
easy under it. After soifte time, I found it became ne- 
cessary to lessen the quantity ; and I have latterly re- 
duced it to one half, at most, of what I at first seemed 
to bear. And if it shall please God to spare me a few 
years longer, in order, in that case, to preserve that 
freedom and clearness which, by his^. blessing, I now 
enjoy, I shall probably find myself obliged to deny my- 
self one half of my present daily substance — which is 
precisely three Winchester pints of new cows' milk, and 
six ounces of biscuit made of fine flour, without salt or 
yeast, and baked in a quick oven." 


It is exceedingly interesting to find an aged physi- 
cian, especially one who had formerly been in the habit 
of using six pints of milk, and twelve ounces of unfer- 
mented biscuit, and of regarding that as a low diet, re- 
ducing himself to one half this quantity in his old age, 
with evident advantages ; and cheerfully looking for- 
ward to a period, as not many years distant, when he 
should be obliged to restrict himself to half even of that 
quantity. How far he finally carried his temperance, 
we do not exactly know. We only know that, after 
thirty years of health and successful medical practice, 
he strenuously contended for the superiority of a vege- 
table and milk diet over any other, whether for the 
feeble or the healthy. But his numerous works abound 
with the most earnest exhortations to temperance in all 
things, and with the most interesting facts and cogent 
reasonings ; and — I repeat it — if there be any individ- 
ual, since the days of Pythagoras, whose nanfie ought to 
be handed down to posterity as the father of the vege- 
table system of living, it is that of Dr. Cheyne. 

Among his works are, a work on Fevers ; an Essay 
on the true Nature and proper Method of treating the 
Grout ; a work on the Philosophical Principles of Reli- 
gion ; an Essay of Health and Long Life ; a work call- 
ed the English Malady ; and another entitled the Nat- 
ural Method of Cure in the Diseases of the Body, and 
the Distempers of the Mind depending thereon. The 
latter, and his Essay of Long Life are, in my view, his 
greatest works ; though the history of his own expe- 
rience is chiefly contained in his English Malady. 

I shall now proceed to make such extrncts from his 
works, as seem to me most striking and important to 
the general reader. They are somewhat numerous, 


and there may be a few repetitions; but I was more *, 
anxious to preserve his exact language — which is rather 
prolix — than to abridge too much, at the risk of mis- 
representing his sentiments. 

" When 1 see milk, oil, emulsion, mild Watery fluids, 
and such like soft liquors run through leathern tubes or 
pipes (for such animal veins and arteries indeed are) for 
years, without destroying them, and observe on the 
other hand that brine, inflammable or urinous spirits, 
and the like acrimonious and burning fluids corrode, 
destroy, and consume them in a very short time ; when 
I consider the rending, burning, and tearing pains and 
tortures of the gout, stone, colic, cancer, rheumatism, 
convulsions, and such like insuflerably painful distem- 
pers ; when I see the crises of almost all acute distem- 
pers happen either by rank and fetid sweats, thick 
lateritious and lixivious sediments m the urine, black, 
putrid, and fetid dejections, attended with livid and pur- 
ple spots, corrosive ulcers, impostumes in the joints or 
muscles, or a gangrene and mortification in this or that 
part of the body ; when I see the sharp, the corroding 
and burning ichor of scorbutic and scrofulous sores, 
fretting, galling, and blistering the adjacent parts, with 
the inflammation, swelling, hardness, scabs, scurf, scales, 
and other loathsome cutaneous foulnesses that attend, 
the white gritty and chalky matter, and hard stony or 
flinty concretions which happen to all those long trou- 
bled with severe gouts, gravel, jaundice, or colic — the 
obstructions and hardnesses, the putrefaction and morti- 
fication that happen in the bowels, joints, and members 
in some of these diseases, and I he rottenness in the 
bones, ligaments, and membranes that happen in others; 
all the \arious tiain of pains, miseries, and torments that 

DSi. CHEYNE. 97 

can afflict any part of the compound, and for which 
there is scarce any reprieve to be obtained, but by 
swallowing a kind of poison (opiates, etc) ; when I be- 
hold with compassion and sorrow, such scenes of misery 
and woe, and see them happen only to thcLi'ich, the lazy, 
the luxurious, and the inactive, those who fare daintily 
and live voluptuously, those who are furnished with the 
rarest delicacies, the richest foods, and the most gener- 
ous wines, such as can provoke the appetites, senses, 
and passions, in the most exquisite and voluptuous man- 
ner ; to those who leave no desire or degree of appetite 
unsatisfied, and not to the poor, the low, the meaner 
sort, those destitute of the necessaries, conveniences, 
and pleasures of life ; to the frugal, industrious, temper- 
ate, laborious, and active, inhabiting barren and uncul- 
tivated countries, deserts, and forests under the poles or 
under the line; — I must, if I am not resolved to resist the 
strongest conviction, conclude that it must be something 
received into the body that can produce such terribie 
appearances in it — some flagrant and notable difference 
in the food that so sensibly distinguishes them from the 
latter ; and that it is the miserable man himself that cre- 
ates his miseries and begets his torture, or at least those 
from whom he has derived his bodily organs. 

** Nothing is so light and easy to the stomach, most 
certainly, as the farinaceous or mealy vegetables ; such 
us peas, beans, millet, oats, barley, rye, wheat, sago, 
rice, potatoes, and the like." 

Milk is not included in the foregoing list of light arti- 
cles ; although Dr. C. was evidently extremely fond of 
prescribing it in chronic diseases. It does not fully ap- 
pear, so far as I can learn from his writings, that he re- 
garded it as by any means indispensable to those who 


were perfectly healthy, except during infancy and child 
hood. The. following extract will give us — more than 
any other, perhaps — his real sentiments, though modest- 
ly expressed in the form of a conjecture, rather than a 
settled belief. 

** I have sometimes indulged the conjecture that ani- 
mal food, and made or artificial liquors, in the original 
frame of our nature and design of our creation, were 
not intended for human creatures. They seem to me 
neither to have those strong and fit organs for digesting 
them (at least, such as birds and beasts of prey have 
that live on flesh) ; nor, naturally, to have those vora- 
cious and brutish appetites, that require animal food and 
strong liquors to satisfy them ; nor those cruel and hard 
hearts, or those diabolical passions, which could easily 
suffer them to tear and destroy their fellow-creatures ; 
at least, not in the first and early ages, before every 
man had corrupted his way, and God was forced to ex- 
terminate the whole race by an universal deluge, and 
was also obliged to shorten their lives from nine hundred 
or one thousand years to seventy. He wisely foresaw 
that animal food and artificial liquors would naturally 
contribute toward this end, and indulged or permitted 
the generation that was to plant the earth again after 
the flood the use of them for food ; knowing that, though 
it would shorten their lives and plait a scourge of thorns 
for the backs of the lazy and voluptuous, it would be 
cautiously avoided by those who knew it was their duty 
and happiness to keep their passions low, and their ap- 
petites in subjection. And this very era of the flood is 
that mentioned in holy writ for the indulgence of animal 
food and artificial liquors, after the trial had been made 
how insufficient alone a vegetable diet — which was the 


first food appointed for human kind after their creation 
— was, in the long lives of men, to restrain ihcir wicked- 
ness and malice, and after finding that nothing but 
shortening their duration could possibly prevent the 

••It is true, there is scarce a possibility of preventing 
the destroying of animal life, as things are now consti- 
tuted, since insects breed and nestle in the very vegeta- 
bles themselves ; and we scarcely ever devour a plant 
or root, wherein we do not destroy innumerable animal- 
culae. But, besides what I have said of nature's being 
quite altered and changed from what was originally in- 
tended, there is a great difference between destroying 
and extinguishing animal life by choice and election, to 
gratify our appetites, and indulge concupiscence, and 
the casual and unavoidable crushing of those who, per- 
haps, otherwise would die within the day, or at most 
the year, and who obtain but an inferior kind of exist- 
ence and life, at the best. 

•* Whatever there may be, in this conjecture, it is evi- 
dent to those who understand the animal economy of 
the frame of human bodies, together with the histo- 
ry, both of those who have lived abstemiously, and of 
those who have lived freely, that indulging in flesh meat 
and strong liquors, inflames the passions and shorten? 
life, begets chronical distempers and a decrepit age. 

"For remedying the distempers of the body, to make 
a man live as long as his original frame was designed 
to last, with the least pai? and fewest diseases, and 
without the loss of his serses, I think Pythagoras and 
Cornaro by far the two greatest men that ever were : 
— ^the first, by vegetable food and unfermented liquors ; 
the latter, by the lightest and least of animal food, and 


naturally fer«ientecl liquors, ^oth lived to a great age. 
But, what is chiefly to be regarded in their conduct and 
example, both preserved their senses, cheerfulness, and 
serenity to the last; and, which is still more to be re- 
garded, both, at least the last, dissolved without pain or 
struggle; the first ha\ .jg lost his life in a tumult, as it 
is said by some, after a great age of perfect health. 

" A plain, natural, and philosophical reason why vege- 
table food is preferable to all other food is, that abound- 
ing with few or no salts, being soft and cool, and con- 
sisting of parts that are easily divided and formed into 
chyle without giving any labor to the digestive powers, 
it has not that force to open the lacteals, to distend their 
orifices and excite them to an unnatural activity, to let 
them pass too great a quantity of hot and rank chyle 
into the blood, and so overcharge and inflame the lym- 
phatics and capillaries, which is the natural and or- 
dinary eflTect of animal food ; and therefore cannot so 
readily produce diseases. There is not a sufiicient 
stimulus in the salts and spirits of vegetable food to cre- 
ate an unnatural appetite, or violent cramming ; at least, 
not suflicient to force open and extend the mouths of 
the lacteals, more than naturally they are or ought to 
be. Such food requires little or no force of digestion, a 
little gentle heat and motion being sufl[icient to dissolve 
it into its integral particles : so that, in a vegetable 
diet, though the sharp humois, in the first passages, are 
extended, relaxed stomach, and sometimes a delightful 
piquancy in the food, may tempt one to exceed in quan- 
tity ; yet rarely, if spices and sauces — as too much but- 
ter, oil, and sugar — are not joined to seeds* and vegeta- 
bles, can the mischief go farther than the stomach and 

* By seed, Dr. C. means the farinaceous grains ; wheat, corn, rye, etc 

DR. CHETNE. 101 

bowels, to create a pressed load, sickness, vomiting, oi 
purging, by its acquiring an acrimony from its not 
being received into the lacteals ; — so that on more be- 
ing admitted into the blood than the expenses of living 
require, life and health can never be endangered by a 
vegetable diet. But all the contrary happens under a 
high animal diet." 

Now I will not undertake to vouch — as indeed I can- 
not, conscientiously, do it — for the correctness of all Dr. 
C.'s notions in physiology or pathology. The great ob- 
ject I have in view, by the introduction of these quota- 
tions, may be accomplished without it. His preference 
for vegetable food, or for what he calls a milk and seed 
diet, is the point which I wish to make most prominent. 

In the following paragraphs, he takes up and consid- 
ers some of the popular objections of the day, to his 
doctrines and practice. 

** One of the most terrible objections some weak per- 
sons make against this regimen and method, is, that 
upon accidental trials, they have always found milk, 
fruit, and vegetables so inflate, blow them up, and raise 
such tumults and tempests in their stomach and bow- 
els, that they have been terrified and affrighted from 
going on. I own the truth and fact to be such, in some. 
as is represented; and that in stomachs and entrails 
inured only to hot and high meats and drinks, and con- 
sequently in an inflammatory state and full of choler and 
phlegm, this sensation will sometimes happen — ^just as a 
bottle of cider or fretting wine, when the cork is pulled 
out, will fly up, and fume, and rage; and if you throw 
in a little ferment or acid (such as milk, seeds, fruit, and 
vegetables to them), the effervescence and tempest will 
exasperate to a hurricane. 


" But what are wind, flatulence, phlegm, and choler ? 
What, indeed, but stopped perspiration, superfluous 
nourishment, inconcocted chyle, of high food and strong 
liquors, fermented and putrifying? And when these 
are shut up and corked, with still more and more solid, 
strong, hot, and styptic meats and drinks, is the corrup- 
tion and putrefaction thereby lessened ? Will it not 
then, at last, either burst the vessel, or throw out the 
cork or stopples, and raise still more lasting and cruel 
tempests and tumults ? Are milk and vegetables, seeds 
and fruits, harder of digestion, more corrosive, or more 
capable of producing chyle, blood, and juices, less fit to 
circulate, to perspire, and be secreted? 

" But what is to be done ? The cure is obvious. Be- 
gin by degrees ; eat less animal food — the most tender 
and young — and drink less strong fermented liquors, for 
a month or two. Then proceed to a tvimming diet, of 
one day, seed and vegetables, and another day, tender, 
young animal food ; — and, by degrees, slide into a total 
milk, seed, and vegetable diet ; cooling the stomach and 
entrails gradually, to fit them for this soft, mild, sweet- 
ening regimen ; and in time your diet will give you all 
the gratification you ever had from strong, high, and 
rank food, and spirituous liquors. And you will, at 
last, enjoy ease, free spirits, perfect health, and long 
life into the bargain. 

" Seeds of all kinds are fittest to begin with, in these 
cases, when dried, finely ground, and dressed ; and, con- 
sequently, the least flatulent. Lessen the quantity, even 
of these, below what your appetite would require, at 
least for a time. Bear a little, and forbear. 

"Virtue and good health are not to be obtained, with- 
out some labor and pains, against contrary habits. It 

DR. CHETNB. 103 

was a wild bounce of a Pythagorean, who defied any 
one to produce an instance of a person, who had long 
lived on milk and vegetables, who ever cut his own 
throat, hanged, or made way with himself; who had 
ever suffered at Tyburn, gone to Newgate, or to Moor- 
fields ; (and, he added rather profanely,) or, would go 
to eternal misery hereafter. 

** Another weighty objection against a vegetable diet, I 
have heard, has been made by learned men ; and is, 
that vegetables require great labor, strong exercise, and 
much action, to digest and turn them into proper nutri- 
ment; as (say they) is evident from their being the 
common diet of day-laborers, handicraftsmen, and 
farmers. This objection I should have been ashamed 
to mention, but that I have heard it come from men 
of learning; and they might have as justly said, that 
freestone is harder than marble, and that the juice of 
vegetables makes stronger glue than that of fish and 

** Do not children and young persons, that is, tender 
persons, live on milk and seeds, even before they are 
capable of much labor and exercise ? Do not all the 
eastern and southern people live almost entirely on 
them? The Asiatics, Moors, and Indians, whose cli- 
mates incapacitate them for much labor, and whose in- 
dolence is so justly a reproach to them, — ^are these 
lazier and less laborious men than the Highlanders and 
native Irish? 

"The truth is, hardness of digestion principally de- 
pends on the minuteness of the component particles, 
as is evident in marble and precious stones. And ani- 
mal substances being made of particles that pass through 
innumerable very little, or infinitely small excretory 


duets, must be of a much finer texture, and consequently 
harder, or tougher, in their composition, than any veg- 
etable substance can be. And the flesh of animals that 
live on animals, is like double distilled spirits, and so 
requires much labor to break, grind, and digest it. 
And, indeed, if day-laborers, and handicraftsmen were 
allowed the high, strong food of men of condition, and 
the quiet and much-thinking persons were confined to 
the farmer and ploughman's food, it would be much 
happier for both. 

** Another objection, still, against a milk and vegetable 
diet is, that it breeds phlegm, and so is unfit for tender 
persons, of cold constitutions; especially those whose 
predominant failing is too much phlegm. But this ob- 
jection has as little foundation as either of the preced- 
ing. Phlegm is nothing but superfluous chyle and nour- 
ishment, as the taking down more food than the ex- 
penses of living and the waste of the solids and fluids 
require. The people that live most on such foods — the 
eastern and southern people and those of the northern I 
have mentioned — are less troubled with phlegm than 
any others. Superfluity will always produce redun- 
dancy, whether it be of phlegm or choler; and that 
which will digest the most readily, will produce the 
least phlegm — such as milk, seeds, and vegetables. 
By cooling and relaxing the solids, the phlegm will be 
more readily thrown up and discharged — more, I say, 
by such a diet than by a hot, high, caustic, and restrin- 
gent one ; but that discharge is a benefit to the consti- 
tution, and will help it the sooner and faster to become 
purified, and so to get into perfect good health. Where- 
as, by shutting them up, the can or cask must 1y and 
burst 80 much the sooner. 

DR. CHEYNE. 105 

" The only material and solid objections against a milk, 
seed, and vegetable diet, are the following : 

" First, That it is particular and unsocial, in a country 
where the common diet is of another nature. But I am 
sure sickness, lowness, and oppression, are much more 
so. These difficulties, after all, happen only at first, 
while the cure is about ; for, when good health comes, 
all these oddnesses and specialities will vanish, and then 
all the contrary to these will be the case. 

*' Secondly, That it is weakening, and gives a man less 
strength and force, than common diet. It is true that 
this may be the result, at first, while the cure is imper- 
fect. But then the greater activity and gayety which 
will ensue on the return of health, under a milk and 
vegetable diet, will liberally supply that defect. 

** Thirdly, The most material objection against such a 
diet is, that it cools, relaxes, softens, and unbends the 
solids, at first, faster than it corrects and sweetens the 
juices, and brings on greater degrees of lowness than it 
is designed to cure; and so sinks, instead of raising. 
But this objection is not universally true ; for there are 
many I have treated, who, without any such inconve- 
nience, or consequent lowness, have gone into this regi- 
men, and have been free from any oppression, sinking, 
or any degree of weakness, ever after ; and they were 
not only those who have been generally temperate and 
clean, free from humors and sharpnesses, but who, on 
the decline of life, or from a naturally weak constitution 
or frame, have been oppressed and sunk from their 
weakness and their incapacity to digest common animal 
food and fermented liquors. 

"I very much question if any diet, either hot or cool, 
has any great influence on the solids, after the fluids 


have been entirely sweetened and balmified* Sweeten 
and thin the juices, and the rest will follow, as a matter 
of course/' 

At page 90 of Dr. Cheyne's Natural Method of Curing 
Diseases, he thus says : 

^' People think they cannot possibly subsist on a little 
meat, milk, and vegetables, or on any low diet, and that 
they must infallibly perish if they should be confined to 
water only ; not considering that nine tenths of the 
whole mass of mankind are necessarily confined to this 
diet, or pretty nearly to it, and yet live with the use of 
their senses, limbs, and faculties, without diseases, or 
but few, and those from accidents or epidemical causes ; 
and that there have been nations, and now are numbers 
of tribes, who voluntarily confine themselves to vegeta- 
bles only ; as the Essenes among the Jews, some Her- 
mits and Solitaries among the Christians of the first 
ages, a great number of monks in the Chartreux now in 
Europe, Banians among the Indians and Chinese, the 
Guebres among the Persians, and of old, the Druids 
among ourselves." • 

To illustrate the foregoing, I may here introduce the 
following extracts from the sixth London edition of Dr. 
Cheyne's Essay on Health and Long Life. 

**It is surprising to what a great age the Eastern 
Christians, who retired from the persecutions into the 
deserts of Egypt and Arabia, lived healthful on a very 
little food. We are informed, by Cassian, that the com- 
mon measure for twenty-four hours was about twelve 
ounces, with only pure water for drink. St. Anthony 
lived to one hundred and five years on mere bread and 
water, adding only a few herbs at last. On a similar 
diet, James the Hermit lived to one hundred and four 

DR. CHEYNliU 107 

jears. Arsenius, the tutor of the emperor Arcadius, to 
one hundred and twenty — sixty-five years in society, 
and fifty-five in the desert. St. Epiphanius, to one hun- 
dred and fifteen; St. Jerome, about one hundred ; Simon 
Stylites, to one hundred and nine ; and Romuaidus, to 
one hundred and twenty. 

'* It is wonderful in what sprightliness, strength, activ- 
ity, and freedom of spirits, a low diet, even here in Eng- 
land, will preserve those who have habituated themselves 
to it. Buchanan informs us of one Laurence, who pre- 
served himself to one hundred and forty, by the mere 
force of temperance and labor. Spotswood mentions 
one Kentigern (afterward called St. Mongah, or Mun- 
go, from whom the famous well in Wales is named), 
who lived to one hundred and eighty-five years ; and 
who, after he came to years of understanding, never 
tasted wine or strong drink, and slept on the cold 

** My worthy friend, Mr. Webb, is still alive. He, by 
the quickness of the faculties of the mind, and the ac- 
tivity of the organs of his body, shows the great benefit 
of a low diet — living altogether on vegetable food and 
pure water. Henry Jenkins lived to one hundred and 
sixty-nine years on a low, coarse, and simple diet. 
Thomas Parr died at the age of one hundred and fifty- 
two years and nine months. His diet was coarse bread, 
milk, cheese, whey, and small beer ; and his historian 
tells us, that he might have lived a good while longer if 
he had not changed his diet and air ; coming out of a 
clear, thin air, into the thick air of London, and being 
taken into a splendid family, where he fed high, and 
drank plentifully of the best wines, and, as a necessary 
consequence, died in a short time. Dr. Lister mentions 


eight persons in the north of England, the youngest of 
whom was above one hundred years old, and the oldest 
was one hundred and forty. He says, it is to be ob- 
served that the food of all this mountainous country is 
exceeding coarse." 

Dr. C, in his Natural Method, at page 91, thus con- 
tinues bis remarks : 

'* And there are whole villages in this kingdom, even 
of those who live on the plains, who scarce eat animal 
food, or drink fermented liquors a dozen times a year. 
It is true, most of these cannot be said to live at ease 
and commodiously, and many may be said to live in 
barbarity and ignorance. All I would infer from this 
is, that they do live, and enjoy life, health, and outward 
serenity, with few or no bodily diseases but from acci- 
dents and epidemical causes ; and that, being reduced by 
voluntary and necessary poverty, they are not able to 
manage with care and caution the rest of the non-nat- 
urals, which, for perfect health and cheerfulness, must 
all be equally attended to, and prudently conducted ; 
and their ignorance and brutality is owing to the want 
of the convenience of due and sufficient culture and 
education in their youth. 

"But the only conclusion I would draw from these 
historical facts is, that a low diet, or living on vegeta- 
bles, will not destroy life or health, or cause liervous 
and cephalic distempers ; but, on the contrary, cure 
them, as far as they are curable. I pretend to demon- 
strate from these facts, that abstinence and a low diet is 
the great antidote and universal remedy of distempers 
acquired by excess, intemperance, and a mistaken regi- 
men of high meats and drinks; and that it will greatly 
alleviate and render tolerable the original distempers 

DR. CHEYNE. 109 

derivecf from diseased parents ; ard that it is absolutely 
necessary for the deep thinking part of mankind, who 
would preserve their faculties sound and entire, ripe 
and pregnant to a green old age and to the last dregs 
of life; and that it is, lastly, the true and real antidote 
and preservative from heavy-headedness, irregular and 
disorderly intellectual functions, from loss of the rational 
faculties, memory, and senses, and from all nervous dis- 
tempers, as far as the ends of Providence and the con- 
dition of mortality will allow. 

"Let two people be taken as nearly alike as the di- 
versity and the individuality of nature will admit, of the 
same age, stature, complexion, and strength of body, and 
under the same chronical distemper, and I am willing to 
take the seeming worse of the two ; let all the most 
promising nostrums, drops, drugs, and medicines known 
among the learned and experienced physicians, ancient 
or modern, regular physicians or quacks, be administer- 
ed to the best of the two, by any professor at home or 
abroad; I will manage my patient with only a few nnt- 
urally indicated and proper evacuations and sweetening 
innocent alternatives, which shall neither be loathsome, 
various, nor complicated, require no confinement, under 
an appropriate diet, or, in a word, under the 'lightest 
and the least,* or at worst under a milk and seed diet ; 
and I will venture reputation and life, that my method 
cures sooner, more perfectly and durably, is much more 
easily and pleasantly passed through, in a shorter time, 
and with less danger of a relapse than the other, with 
all the assistance of the best skill and experience, under 
a full and free, though even a commonly reputed moder- 
ate diet, but of rich foods and generous liquors ; much 
fiiore, under a voluptuous diet." 


But I am unwilling to dismiss this subject without in- 
serting a few more extracts from Dr. Cheyne, to show 
his views of the treatment of diseases. And first, of the 
scurvy, and other diseases which he supposes to arise 
from it. 

" There is no chronical distemper, whatsoever, more 
universal, more obstinate, and more fatal in Britam than 
the scurvy, taken in its general extent. Scarce any one 
chronical distemper but owes its origin to a scorbutic 
tendency, or is so complicated with it, that it furnishes 
the most cruel and most obstinate symptoms. To it we 
owe all the dropsies that happen after the meridian of 
life ; all diabetes, asthmas, consumptions of several 
kinds ; many sorts of colics and diarrhoeas ; some kinds 
of gouts and rheumatisms, all palsies, various kinds of 
ulcers, and possibly the cancer itself; and most cuta- 
neous foulnesses, weakly constitutions, and bad diges- 
tions ; vapors, melancholy, and almost all nervous dis- 
tempers whatsoever. And what a plentiful source of 
miseries the last are, the afflicted best can tell. And 
scarce any one chronical distemper whatever, but has 
some degree of this evil faithfully attending it. The 
reason why the scurvy is peculiar to this country and 
so fruitful of miseries, is, that it is produced by causes 
mostly special and particular to this island, to wit : the 
indulging so much in animal food and strong fermented 
liquors, sedentary and confined employments, etc. 

*' Though the inhabitants of Britain live, for the most 
part, as long as those of a warmer climate, and proba- 
bly rather longer, yet scarce any one, especially those 
of the better sort, but becomes crazy and suflfers under 
some chronical distemper or other, before he arrives at 
old age. 



^Nothing less than a very moderate use of animal 
food, and that of the least exciting kind, and a more 
moderate use of spirituous liquors, due exercise, etc., 
can keep this hydra under. And nothing else than a 
total abstinence from animal food and alcoholic liquors 
can totally extirpate it** 

The following are extracted from his ''Natural 
Methods." I do not lay them down as recipes, to be 
followed in the treatment of diseases ; but to show the 
views of Dr. Cheyne in regard to vegetable regimen. 

•♦ 1. Cancer. — Any cancer that can be cut out, con- 
ti acted, and healed up with common, that is, soft, cool, 
and gently astringent dressings, and at last left as an 
issue on the part, may, by a cow's milk and seed diet 
continued ever afterward, be made as easy to the pa- 
tient, and his life and health as long preserved, almost, 
as if he had never been afflicted with it; especially if 
undei: fifty years of age. 

**2. Cancer, — A total ass's milk /liet — about two 
quarts a day, without any other meat or drink — will in 
time cure a cancer in any part of the body, with mere 
common dressings, provided the patient is not quite 
worn out with it before it. is begun, or too far gone in 
the common duration of life ; and even in that case, it 
will lessen the pain, lengthen life, and make death ea- 
sier, especially if joined with small interspersed bleed- 
ings, millepedes, crabs' eyes prepared, nitre and rhu- 
barb, properly managed. But the diet, even after the 
cure, must be continued, and never after greatly al- 
tered, unless it be into cow's milk with seeds. 

"3. Consumption. — A total milk and seed diet, gen- 
tle and frequent bleedings, as symptoms exasperate, a 
little ipecacuanha or thumb vomit repeated once or twice 


a week, chewing quill bark in the morning, and a few 
grains of rhubarb at night, will totally cure consump- 
tions, even when attended with tubercles, and hemoptoe, 
and hectic, in the first stage ; will greatly relieve, if not 
cure, in the second stage, especially if riding and a 
warm clear air be joined ; and make death easier in the 
third and last stage. 

"4. Fits, — A total cow's milk diet — about two quarts 
a day — without any other food, will at last totally cure 
all kinds of fits, epileptical, hysterical, or apoplectic, if 
entered upon before fifty. But the patient, if near fifty, 
must ever after continue in the same diet, with the ad- 
dition only of seeds ; otherwise his fits wil! return oft- 
ener and more severely, and at last cut him off. 

"5. Palsy, — A total cow's milk diet, without any 
other food, will bid fairest to cure a hemiplegia or even 
a dead palsy, and consequently all the lesser degrees of 
a partial one, if entered upon before fifty. And this dis- 
temper I take to be the most obstinate, intractable, and 
disheartening one that can afflict the human machine ; 
and is chiefly produced by intemperate cookery, with 
its necessary attendant, habitual luxury. 

"6. Gout. — A total milk and seed diet, with gentle 
vomits before and after the fits, chewing bark in the 
morning and rhubarb at night, with bleeding about the 
equinoxes, will perfectly cure the gout in persons under 
fifty, and greatly relieve those farther advanced in life ; 
but must be continued ever after, if such desire to get 

** 7. Gravel — Soap lees, softened with a little oil of 
sweet almonds, drunk about a quarter of an ounce twice 
a day on a fasting stomach ; or soap and egg-shell pills, 
with a total milk and seed diet, and Bristol water bev- 

OR. CHEYNE. 113 

erage, will either totally dissolve the stone in kidneys or 
bladder, or render it almost as easy as the nail on one*s 
finger, if the patient is under fifty, and much relieve 
him, even after that age. 

** In about thirty years' practice, in which I have, in 
some degree or other, advised this method in proper 
cases, I have had but two patients in whose total re- 
covery I have been mistaken, and these were both scrof- 
ulous cases, where the glands and tubercles were so 
many^ so hard, and so impervious that even the pon- 
derous remedies and diet joined could not discuss them ; 
and they were both also too far gone before they en- 
tered upon them; — and I have found deep scrofulous 
vapors the most obstinate of any of this tribe of these 
distempers. And indeed nothing can possibly reach 
such, but the ponderous medicines, joined with a liquid, 
cool, soft, milk and seed regimen ; and if these two do 
not, in due time, I can boldly affirm it, nothing ever will." 

Dr. Cheyne goes on to speak of the cure, on similar 
principles, of a great many other difficult or dangerous 
diseases, as asthma, pleurisy, hemorrhage, mania, jaun- 
dice, bilious colic, rheumatism, scurvy, and venereal 
disease ; but he modestly owns that, in his opinion on 
these, he does not feel such entire confidence as in the 
former cases, for want of sufficient experiments. He, 
however, closes one of his chapters with the following 
pretty strong statement : 

"I am morally certain, and am myself entirely con- 
vinced, that a milk and seed, or milk and turnip diet, 
duly persisted in, with the occasional nelps mentioned 
(elsewhere) on exacerbations, will either totally cure or 
greatly relieve every chronical distemper I ever saw or 
read of."* 


Another chapter is thus concluded, and with it I shall 
conclude my extracts from his writings. 

"Some, perhaps, may controvert, nay, ridicule the 
doctrine laid down in these propositions. I shall 
neither reply to, nor be moved with any thing that 
shall be said against them. If they are of natures and 
truth, they will stand ; if not, I consent they should come 
to nought. I have satisfied my own conscience — the 
rest belongs to Providence. Possibly time and bodily 
sufferings may justify them ; — if not to this generation, 
perhaps to some succeeding one. I myself am con- 
vinced, by long and many repeated experience, of their 
justness and solidity. If what has been advocated 
through this whole treatise does not convince others* 
nothing I can add will be sufficient. I will leave only 
this reflection with my readers. 

** All physicians, ancient and modern, allow that a milk 
and seed diet will totally cure before fifty, and infinitely 
alleviate after it, the consumption, the rheumatism, the 
scurvy, the gout — these highest, most mortal, most pain- 
ful, and most obstinate distempers ; and nothing is more 
certain in mathematics, than that which will cure the 
greater will certainly cure the lesser distempers." 


Dr. GeofFroy, a distinguished French physician and 
professor of chemistry and medicine in sonje of the in- 
stitutions of France, flourished more than a hundred 
years ago. The bearing of the following extract will 
be readily seen. It is from the Memoirs of the Royal 
Academy for the year 1730 ; and I am indebted for it to 
the labors of Dr. Cheyne. 

"M. GeofFroy has given a method for determining 



the proportion of n:)urishment or true matter of the flesh 
and blood, contained in any sort of food. He took a 
pound of meat that had been freed from the fat, bones, 
and cartilages, and boiled it for a determined time in a 
close vessel, with three pints of water ; then, pouring 
oflf the liquor, he added the same quantity of water, boil- 
ing it again for the same time ; and this operation he re- 
peated several times, so that the last liquor appeared, 
both in smell and taste, to be little difierent from com- 
mon water. Then, putting all the liquor together, and 
filtrating, to separate the too gross particles, he evapor- 
ated it over a slow fire, till it was brought to an extract 
of a pretty moderate consistence. 

*'This experiment was made upon several sorts of food, 
the result of which may be seen in the following table. 
The weights are in ounces, drachms, and grains ; sixty 
grains to a drachm, and eight drachms to an ounce. 

Kind of Food. 

One lb. Beef 

Veal . 
Mutton . 
Cahres' Feet 
Carp . . 
Whey . 
Bread . 

Amoiut of Extract. 

oz. dr. gr. 

. 0. 7. 8. 

1. 1. 48. 

. 1. 3. 16. 

1. 1. 39. 

. 1. 4. 34. 

1. 0. 12. 

. 1. 2. 8. 

1. 4. 34. 

. 1. 2. 26. 

1. 0. 8. 

. 1. 1. 3. 

4. 1. 0. 

** The relative proportion of the nourishment will be as 
follows : 








Pheasant • « 


Calves' Feet 

Carp y • • , 

Whey . 

Bread . 











"From the foregoing decisive experiments it is evident 
that white, young, tender animal food, bread, milk, and 
vegetables, are the best and most effectual substances 
for nutrition, accretion, and sweetening bad juices. 
They may not give so strong and durable mechanical 
force, because being easily and readily digestible, and 
juickly passing all the animal functions, so as to turn 
into good blood and muscular flesh, they are more 
transitory, fugitive, and of prompt secretion ; yet they 
will perform all the animal functions more readily and 
pleasantly, with fewer resistances and less labor, and 
leave the party to exercise the rational and intellectual 
operations with pleasure and facility. They will leave 
Nature to its ow^n original powers, prevent and cure 
diseases, and lengthen out life." 

Now if this experiment proves what Dr. C. supposes 
in favor of the lighter meats and vegetables taken to- 
gether, how much more does it prove for bread alone ? 
For it cannot escape the eye of the least observing that 
this article, though placed last in the list of Dr. GeofFroy, 
is by far the highest in point of nutriment; nay, that it 
is about three times as high as any of the rest. I am 
not disposed to lay so much stress on these experiments 
•as Dr. C. does; nevertheless, they prove something 


Connected with the more recent experiments of Messrs. 
Percy and Vauquelin and others, how strikingly do they 
establish one fact, at least, viz., that bread and the other 
farinaceous vegetables cannot possibly be wanting in 
nutriment; and how completely do they annihilate the 
old-fashioned doctrine— one which is still abroad and 
very extensively believed — that animal food is a grc;it 
deal more nourishing than vegetable ! No careful in- 
quirer can doubt that bread, peas, beans, rice, etc., are 
twice as nutritious — to say the least — as fiesh or fish. 


As I have alluded, in the preceding article, to the ex- 
periments of Messrs. Percy and Vauquelin, two dis- 
tinguished French chemists, their testimony in this 
place seems almost indispensable, even though we 
should not regard it, in the most strict import of the 
term, as medical testimony. The result of their experi- 
ments, as communicated by them to the French minister 
of the interior, is as follows: 

In bread, every one hundred pounds is found to con- 
tain eighty pounds of nutritious matter; butcher's meat, 
averaging the different sorts, contains only thirty-five 
pounds in one hundred ; French beans (in the grain), 
ninety-two pounds in one hundred ; broad beans, eighty- 
nine pounds ; peas, ninety-three pounds ; lentils (a 
species of half pea little known with us), fifty-four 
pounds in one hundred ; greens and turnips only eight 
pounds of solid nutritious substance in one hundred ; 
carrots, fourteen pounds ; and one hundred pounds of 
potatoes yield only twenty-five pounds of nutriment. 

I will just affix to the foregoing one more table. It 
is inserted in several other works which I have pub- 


lished ; but for the benefit of those who may never yet 
have seen it, and to show how strikingly it corresponds 
with the results of the experiments of Geoffroy, Percy, 
and Yauquelin, I deem it proper to insert it. 

Of the best wheat, one hundred pounds contain about 
eighty-five pounds of nutritious matter ; of rice, ninety 
pounds ; of rye, eighty; of barley, eighty- three ; of beans, 
eighty-nine to ninety-two; peas, ninety-three; lentils, 
ninety-four ; meat (average), thirty-five ; potatoes, twen- 
ty-five ; beets, fourteen ; carrots, ten ; cabbage, seven ; 
greens, six ; and turnips, four. 


Dr. Pemberton, after speaking of the general tenden- 
cy, in our highly fed communities, to scrofula and con- 
sumption, makes the following remarks, which need no 
comment : 

** If a child is born of scrofulous parents, I would 
strongly recommend that it be entirely nourished from 
the breast of a healthy nurse, for at least a year. After 
this, the food should consist of milk and farinaceous 
vegetables. By a perseverance in this diet for three 
years, I have imagined that the threatened scrofulous 
appearances have certainly been postponed, if not alto- 
gether prevented." 


Sir John Sinclair, an eminent British surgeon, says, 
"I have wandered a good deal about the world, my 
health has been tried in all ways, and, by the aid of 
temperance and hard work, I have worn out two armies 
in two wars, and probably could wear out another be- 


fore my period of old age arrives. I eat no animal food, 
drink no wine or malt liquor, or spirits of any kind ; I 
wear no flannel ; and neither regard wind nor rain, 
heat nor cold, when business is in the way." 


Dr. James, of Wisconsin, but formerly of Albany, and 
editor of a temperance paper in that city, one of the 
most sensible, intelligent, and refined of men, and one of 
the first in his profession, is a vegetable eater, and a man 
of great simplicity in all his physical, intellectual, and 
moral habits. I do not know that his views have ever 
been presented to the public, but I state them with much 
confidence, from a source in which I place the most im- 
plicit reliance. 


Dr. Cranstoun, a worthy medical gentleman in Eng- 
land, became subject, by some means or other, to a 
chronic dysentery, on which he exhausted, as it were, 
the whole materia medica, in vain. At length, after 
suflfering greatly for four or five years, he was com- 
pletely cured by a milk and vegetable diet. The follow- 
ing is his own brief account of his cure, in a letter to Dr. 

" I resolutely, as soon as capable of a diet, held myself 
close to your rules of bland vegetable food and element- 
ary drink, and, without any other medicine, save fre- 
quent chewing of rhubarb and a little bark, I passed last 
winter and this summer without a relapse of the dysen- 
tery ; and, though by a very slow advance, I find now 
more restitution of the body and regularity in the econ- 
omy, on this primitive aliment, than ever I knew from 


the beginning of this trouble. This encourages much 
my perseverance in the same method, and that so reli- 
giously, as, to my knowledge, now for more than a year 
and a half I have not tasted of any thing that had ani- 
mal life. There is plenty in the vegetable kingdom." 


This gentleman, who had studied the works of Dr. 
Sydenham, and was therefore rather favorably inclined 
toward a milk and vegetable diet, became at last subject 
to epileptic fits. Not being willing, however, to give up 
his high living and his strong drinks, he tried the effects 
of medicine, and even consulted all the most eminent of 
his brethren of the medical profession in and about Lon- 
don ; but all to no purpose, and the fits continued to 
recur. He used frequently to be attacked with them 
while riding along the road, in pursuance of the business 
of his profession. In these cases he would fall from his 
horse, and often remain senseless till some passenger or 
wagon came along and carried him to the nearest house. 
At length his danger, not only from accidents, but from 
the frequency and violence of the attacks, became so 
imminent that he was obliged to follow the advice of his 
master, Sydenham. He first laid aside the use of all 
fermented and distilled liquors ; then, finding his fits 
became less frequent and violent, he gave up all flesh 
meat, and confined himself entirely to cows' milk. 

In pursuance of this plan, in a year or two the epilep- 
sy entirely left him. "And now," says Dr. Cheyne, from 
whom I take the account. ** for seventeen years he has 
enjoyed as good health as human nature is capable of, 
except that once, in a damp air and loggy weather, in 
I iding through Essex, ho was seized with an a^iie, will jh 


he got over by chewing the bark." He assured Dr. C 
that at this time — and he was considerably advanced in 
life — he could play six hours at cricket without fatigue 
or distress, and was more active and clear in his facul- 
ties than ever he had been before in his whole life. He 
also said he had cured a great many persons, by means 
of the same diet, of inveterate distempers. 


The celebrated Dr. Hufeland taught that a simple 
vegetable diet was most conducive to health and long 
life. The distinguished Dr. Abemethy has expressed 
an opinion not very unlike it, in the following eccentric 
manner : 

•* If you put improper food into the stomach it becomes 
disoi*dered, and the whole system is affected. Vegeta- 
ble matter ferments and becomes gaseous, while animal 
substances are changed into a putrid, abominable, and 
acrid stimulus. Now, some people acquire preposterous 
Doses ; others, blotches on the face and different parts 
of the body ; others, inflammation of the eyes ; all arising 
from the irritations of the stomach. I am often asked 
why I don't practice what I preach. I reply by remind- 
ing the inquirer of the parson and sign-post — both point 
the way, but neither follows its course.** 


Dr. Gregory, a distinguished professor and practition- 
er of medicine in Scotland, in a work published more 
than seventy years ago, strongly recommends plain and 
simple food for children. Till they are three years old, 
be says, th<eir diiet should consist of plain milk, panada, 


good bread, barley meal porridge, and rice. He also 
complains of pampering them with animal food. The 
same arguments which are good for forming them to the 
habits of vegetable food exclusively for the first three 
years of life, would be equally good for its continuance. 


The name of Dr. Cullen is well known, and he has 
long been regarded as high authority. Yet this distin- 
guished writer and teacher expressly says, that a very 
temperate and sparing use of animal food is the surest 
means of preserving health and obtaining long life. But 
I will quote his own language, in various parts of his 
writings. And first, from his Materia Medica: 

** Vegetable aliment, as never over-distending the ves- 
sels or loading the system, never interrupts the stronger 
emotions of the mind, while the heat, fullness, and weight 
of animal food, is an enemy to its vigorous eflforts. Tem- 
perance, then, does not consist so much in the quantity, 
for that will always be regulated by our appetite, as in 
the quality, viz., a large proportion of vegetable ali- 

I will not stop here to oppose Dr. C.'s views in regard 
to the quantity of our food ; for this is not the place. 
It is sufficient to show that he admits the importance 
of quality y and gives the preference to a diet of vegeta- 

He seems in favor, in another place in his works, of 
sleeping after eating — perhaps a heresy, too — and in- 
clines to the opinion that the practice would be hardly 
hurtful if we ate less animal food. 

But his "First Lines of the Practice of Physic,'* 
abounds in testimonies in favor of vegetable food. In 

DR. CULLEN. 123 

speaking; for example, of the cure of : ^eumatic affec- 
tions, he has the following language : 

"The cure, therefore, requires, in the first place, an 
antiphlogistic regimen, and particularly, a total absti- 
nence from animal food, and from all fermented or spir- 
ituous liquors." 

"Antiphlogistic regimen," in medical language, means 
that food and drink which is most cooling and quieting 
to the stomach and to the general system. 

In the treatment of gout. Dr. Cullen recommends a 
course like that which has been stated, except that in- 
stead of proposing vegetable food as a means of cure, 
he recommends it as preventive. He says — 

"The gout may be entirely prevented by constant 
bodily exercise, and by a low diet ; and I am of opinion 
that this prevention may take place even in persons 
who have a hereditary disposition to the disease. I must 
add, here, that even when the disposition has discovered 
itself by severe paroxysms of inflammatory gout, I am 
persuaded that labor and abstinence will absolutely 
prevent any returns of it for the rest of life." 

Again, in reference to the same subject, he thus ob- 
serves : 

** I am firmly persuaded that any man who, early in 
life, will enter upon the constant practice of bodily labor 
and of abstinence from animal food, will be preserved 
entirely from the disease." 

And yet once more. 

^ If an abstinence from animal food be enterea upon 
early in life, while the vigor of the system is yet entire, 
T have no doubt of its being both safe and effectual." 

To guard against the common opinion that by vegeta- 
ble food, he meant raw, or crude, or bad vegetables, 


Dr. C. explains his meaning by assuring the reader 
that by a vegelable diet he means the ''farinaceous 
seeds,** and '' milk ;" and admits that green, crude, and 
bad vegetables are not only less useful, but actually lia- 
ble to produce the very diseases, which good, mealy 
vegetable food will prevent or cure. 

This is an important distinction. Many a person, 
who wishes to be abstemious, seems to think that if he 
only abstains from flesh and fish, that is enough. No 
matter, he supposes, what vegetables he uses, so they 
are vegetables ; nor how much he abuses himself by 
excess in quantity. Nay, he will even load his stomach 
with milk, or butter, or eggs ; sometimes with fish (we 
have often been asked if we considered fish as animal 
food) ; and sometimes, worse still, with hot bread, hot 
buckwheat cakes, hot short-cakes, swimming, almost, in 
butter ; — yes, and sometimes he will even cover his po- 
tatoes with gravy, mustard, salt, etc. 

It is in vain for mankind to abstain from animal food, 
as they call it, and yet run into these worse errors. 
The lean parts of animals not much fattened, and only 
rarely cooked, eaten once a day in small quantity, are 
far less unwholesome than many of the foregoing. 

But to return to Dr. C. In speaking of the proper 
drink for persons inclined to gout, he thus remarks : 

" With respect to drink, fermented liquors are useful 
only when they are joined with animal food, and that 
by their acescency ; and their stimulus is only neces- 
sary from custom. When, therefore, animal food is to 
be avoided, fermented liquors are unnecessary, and by 
increasing the acescency of vegetables, these liquors 
may be hurtful. The stimulus of fermented or spirituous 
liquors is not necessary to the young and vigorous: 

DR. Cv LLEN. 125 

and, when much employed, impairs the tone of the sys- 

Dr. C. might have added — what indeed we should 
infer by parity of reasoning — that when fermented 
liquors are avoided, animal food is no longer necessary, 
and by increasing the alkaline state of the stomach and 
fluids, may be hurtful. The truth is, they go best to- 
gether. If we use flesh and fish, which are alkaline, a 
small quantity of gently acid drink, as weak cider or 
wine, taken either with our meals, or between them, may 
be useful. It is better, however, to abstain from both* 

For if a purely vegetable aliment, with water alone 
for drink, is safe to all young persons inclining at all to 
gout, to whom is it unsafe? If it tends to render a 
young person at all weaker, that very weakness would 
predispose to the gout, in some of its forms, if a per- 
son were constitutionally inclined to that disease — if 
not to some other complaint, to which he was more 
inclined. It cannot, therefore, be unsafe to any, if Dr. 
C. is right. 

But if those who are trained to it, lose nothing, even 
in the high latitude of Scotland — where Dr. C. wrote — 
by confining themselves to good vegetables and water, 
then they must necessarily gain, on his own principles, 
by this way of living, because they get rid of any sort 
of necessity (he might have added, lose their appetite) 
for fermented liquors. 

More than this, as the doctor himself concludes, in 
another place, they prevent many acute diseases. His 
words are these: — "It is animal food which especially 
predisposes to the plethoric and inflammatory state ; 
and that food is therefore to be especially avoided." It 
is true, he is here speaking of gouty persons ; but his 


principles are also fairly susceptible, as I have shown, 
of a general application. 

In short, it is an undeniable fact, that even a thorough- 
going vegetable eater might prove every thing he wish- 
ed, from old established writers on medicine and health, 
though themselves were feeders on animal food ; just as 
a teetotaler may prove the doctrine of abstinence from 
all drinks but water, from the writings of medical men, 
though themselves are still, in many cases, pouring 
down their cider, their beer, or their wine— or at least, 
their tea and coffee. 


I find nothing in the writings of this great man which 
shows, with certainty, what his views were, in regard 
to animal food. The presumption is, that he was sparing 
in its use, and that he encouraged a very limited use of 
it in others. This is presumed, 1, from the general 
tenor of his writings— deeply imbued as they are with 
the great doctrine of temperance in all things ; and, 2, 
from the fondness he seems to have manifested in men- 
tioning the temperance and even abstinence of individ- 
uals of whom he was speaking. 

Of Ann Woods, for example, who died at the age of 
ninety-six years, he says, " Her diet was simple, consist- 
ing chiefly of weak tea, milk, cheese, butter, and vege- 
tables. Meat of all kinds, except veal, disagreed with 
her stomach. She found great benefit from frequently 
changing her aliment. Her drinks were water, cider 
and water, and molasses and vinegar in water. She 
never used spirits. Her memory (at her death) was 
but little impaired. She was cheerful, and thankful that 

■^ "" 

DR. lIUSH. 127 

her condition in life was happier than that of hundreds 
of other people." 

In his account of Benjamin Lay, a philosopher of the 
sect of the Friends, in Pennsylvania, Dr. R. relates, that 
**he was extremely temperate in his diet, living chiefly 
upon vegetables. Turnips boiled and afterward roasted, 
were his favorite dinner. His drink was pure water. 
He lived above eighty years.** It appears, also, that he 
was exceedingly healthy. 

He relates of Anthony Benezet, a distinguished teacher 
of Philadelphia, who lived to an advanced age, that his 
sympathy was so great with every thing that was capa- 
ble of feeling pain, that he resolved, toward the close of 
his life, to eat no animal food. He also relates the fol- 
lowing singular anecdote of him. Upon coming into 
his brother's house, one day, when the family were 
dining upon poultry, he was asked by his brother's wife 
to sit down and dine with them. What ! said he, would 
you have me eat my neighbors ? 

Dr. Caleb Bannister, in another part of this work, 
tells us that he was led to adopt a milk and vegetable 
diet, in incipient consumption, from reading the writings 
of Dr. Rush ; and I have little doubt that Dr. R. him- 
self lived quite abstemiously, if not altogether on vege- 

Nor is this incidental testimony from Dr. Rush quite 
all. In his work "On the Diseases of the Mind," he 
speaks often of the evils of eating high-seasoned food, 
and especially animal food. And in stating what were 
the proper remedies for debility in young men, when in- 
duced by certain forms of licentiousness, he expressly 
insists on a diet consisting simply of vegetables, and 
prepared without condiments; and he even encourages 


the disuse of salt. Had Dr. Rush lived to this day, he 
would, ere now, m all probability, have fully adopted 
and defended the vegetable system. With views like 
his on the subject of intemperance, 'and a mind ever 
open to conviction, the result could hardly have been 


Dr. William Lambe, of London, is distinguished both 
as a physician and a general scholar, and is a prominent 
member of the "College of Physicians/* He was a 
graduate of St. John's College, Cambridge, and a fellow- 
student with the immortal Clarkson. 

Dr. Lambe is the author of several valuable works, 
among which are his "Reports on Cancer," and a more 
recent work entitled, "Additional Reports on the EflTects 
of a Peculiar Regimen, in Cases of Cancer, Scrofula, 
Consumption, Asthma, and other chronic diseases." He 
has also made and published numerous experiments, es- 
pecially in chemistry, which is, with him, a favorite 
science ; and it is said that he has spent fortunes in this 

Dr. L. is now eighty-four years of age, and has lived 
on vegetable diet forty-two years. He commenced 
this course to cure himself of internal gout, and con- 
tinued it because he found it better for his health. He 
is now only troubled with it slightly, at his extremities, 
which he thinks highly creditable to a vegetable course 
— having thrown it off from his vital organs. He is 
cheerful and active, and able to discharge the duties of 
an extensive medical practice. He walks into town, a 
distance of three miles from his residence, every morn- 
ing, and back at night ; and thinks himself as Mkely to 

DR. LAMBS. 129 

live twenty years longer as he was, twenty years ago, 
to live to his present age. 

The following is a condensed account of Dr. L.'s 
views, as obtained from his " Additional Reports," above 
nientioned. Some of the first paragraphs relate to the 
effects of vegetable food on those who are predisposed 
to scrofula, consumption, etc 

" We see daily examples of young persons becoming 
consumptive who never went without animal food a 
single day of their lives. If the use of animal food 
were necessary to prevent consumption, we should ex- 
pect, where people lived almost entirely upon such a 
diet, the disease would be unknown. 

"Now, the Indian tribes visited by Mr. Hearne live in 
this manner. They do not cultivate the earth. They 
subsist by hunting, and the scanty produce of sponta- 
neous vegetation. But, among these tribes consump- 
tion is common. Their diseases, as Mr. Hearne informs 
as, are principally fluxes, scurvy, and consumption. 

"In the last four years, several cases of glandular 
swellings have occurred to me at the general dispensa- 
ry, and I have made particular inquiries into the mode 
of living of such children. In the majority, they had 
animal food. In opposition to the accusation of vegeta- 
ble food causing tumefaction of the abdomen, I must 
testify, that twice in my own family I have seen such 
swellings disappear under a vegetable regimen, which 
had been formed under a diet of animal food. 

" Increasing the strength, for a time, is no proof of the 
salubrity of diet. The increased strength may not con- 
tinue, though the diet should be continued. On the con- 
trary, there is a sort of oscillation ; the strength just 
rising, then sinking again. This is what is experienced 


by the trainers of boxers. A certain time is necessary 
to get these men into condition ; but this condition can- 
not be maintained for many weeks together, though the 
process by which it was formed is continued. The 
same is found to hold in the training of race-horses, and 

''It seems certain that animal food predisposes to dis- 
ease. Timoric, in his account of the plague at Con- 
stantinople, asserts that the Armenians, who live chiefly 
on vegetable food, were far less disposed to the disease 
than other people. The typhus fever is greatly ex- 
asperated by full living. 

" It seems, moreover, highly probable that the power 
inherent in the human living body, of restoring itself 
under accidents or wounds, is strongest in those who 
use most a vegetable regimen. 

'' Contagions act with greater virulence upon bodies 
prepared by a full diet of animal food. 

" Since fishing has declined in the isles of Ferro, and 
the inhabitants have lived chiefly on vegetables, the 
elephantiasis has ceased among them. 

" Those monks who, by the rules of their institution, 
abstain from the flesh of animals, enjoy a longer mean 
term of life, as the consequence. Of this there can be 
no doubt. Of one hundred and fifty-two monks, taken 
promiscuously in all times and all sorts of climates, 
there lives produced a total, according to Baillot (a 
writer of eminence), of 11,589 years, or an average of 
seventy-six years and a little more than three months. 

" Those Bramins who abstain most scrupulously from 
the flesh of animals attain to the greatest longevity. 

"Life is prolonged, under incurable diseases, about 
one tenth by vegetable diet ; so that x person who 

DR. LAMBB. 181 

would otherwise die at seventy, will re&ch seventy- 
seven. In general, however, the proportion is about 
one sixth. 

** Abstaining from animal food palliates, when it does 
not cure, all constitutional diseases. 

*' The use of animal food hurries on life with an un- 
natural and unhealthy rapidity. We arrive at pCiberty 
too soon ; the passions are developed too early ; in the 
male, they acquire an impetuosity approaching to mad- 
ness ; females become mothers too early, and loo fre- 
quently; and^ finally, the system becomes prematurely 
exhausted and destroyed, and we become diseased and 
old, when we ought to be in middle life. 

^^ It affords no trifling ground of suspicion against the 
use of animal food that it so obviously inclines us to cor- 
pulency. Corpulency itself is a species of disease, and 
a still surer harbinger of other diseases. It is so even 
in animals. When a sheep has become fat, the butcher 
knows it must be killed or it will rot and decline. It is 
rare indeed for the corpulent to be long-lived. They 
are at the same time sleepy, lethargic, and short-breathed. 
Even Hippocrates says, * Those who are uncommonly 
fat die more quickly than the lean.' 

** As a general rule, the florid are less healthy than 
those who have little color ; an increase of color having 
ever been judged, by common sense, to be a sign of im- 
pending illness. Some, however, who are lean upon an- 
imal food, thrive upon vegetables, and improve in color. 

" All the notions of vegetable diet affording only a defi- 
cient nutriment — ^notions which are countenanced by 
the language of Cullen and other great physicians — are 
wholly groundless. 

"Man is herbivorous in his structure. 


•' I iMve observed no ill consequences fronn the relin- 
quishment of oninDal food. The apprehended danger of 
the change, with which men scare themselves and their 
neighbors, is a mere phantom of the imagination. The 
danger, in truth, lies wholly on the other side. 

"There is no organ of the body which, under the use 
of vegetable food, does not receive an increase of sensi- 
bility, or of that power which is thought to be imparted 
to it by the nervous system. 

" Socrates, Plato, Zeno, Epicurus, and others of the 
masters of ancient wisdom, adhered to the Pythagorean 
diet (vegetable diet), and are known to have arrived at 
old age with the enjoyment of uninterrupted health. 
Celsus affirms that the bodies which are filled with 
much animal food become the most iquickly old and dis- 
eased. It was proverbial that the ancient athletae were 
the most stupid of men. The cynic Diogenes, being 
asked what was the cause of this stupidity, is reported 
to have answered, * Because they are wholly formed of 
the flesh of swine and oxen.' Theophrastus says that 
feeding upon flesh destroys the reason, and makes the 
mind more dull. 

"Animal food is unfavorable to the intellectual powers. 
The effect is, in some measure, instantaneous ; it being 
hardly possible to apply to any thing requiring thought 
after a full meal of meat ; so that it has been not im- 
properly said of vegetable feeders, that with them it is 
morning all day long. But the senses, the memory, the 
understanding, and the imagination have also been ob- 
served to improve by a vegetable diet. 

"It will not be disputed that, for consumptive symp- 
toms, a vegetable diet, or at least n vegetable and milk 
diet, is the most proper. 

DR. LAMBE. 133 

** It has been said, that the great fondness men have 
for animal food, is proof enough that nature intended 
'Aem to eat it. As if men were not fond of wine, ar- 
dent spirits, and other things which we know cut short 
^heir days I 

" In every period of history it has been known that 
Vegetables alone are sufficient for the support of life; 
and the bulk of mankind live upon them at this hour. 
The adherence to the use of animal food is no more 
than a gross persistence hi the customs of savage life, 
and an insensibility to the progress of reason and the op- 
eration of intellectual improvement. This habit must be 
considered as one of the numerous relics of that ancient 
barbarism which has overspread the face of the globe, 
and which still taints the manners of civilized nations. 

** The use of fermented liquors is, in some measure, a 
necessary concomitant and appendage to the use of an- 
imal food. Animal food, in a great number of persons, 
loads the stomach, causes some degree of oppression, 
fullness, and uneasiness ; and, if the measure of it be in 
eiccess, some nausea and tendency to sickness. Such 
persons say meat is too heavy for the stomach. Fish 
is still more apt to nauseate. The use of fermented 
liquors takes off these uneasy feelings, and is thought to 
assist digestion. In short, in the use of animal food, 
man having deviated from the simple aliment offered 
him by the hand of nature, and which is the best suited 
to his organs of digestion, he has brought upon himself 
a premature decay, and much intermediate suffering 
connected with it. To this use of animal food almost 
all nations that have emerged from a state of barbar- 
ism, have united the use of spirituous and fermented 


It is but justice to Dr. L., however, as the above was 
written by him over thirty years ago, to say, that though 
he still adheres to the same views, he thinks pure dis- 
tilled water a very important addition to the vegetable 
diet, in the cure of chronic diseases. The following are 
his remarks 'in a letter to Mr. Graham, dated ten or 
twelve years ago. 

^ My doctrine is, that for the preservation of health, 
and more particularly for the successful treatment of 
chronic diseases, it is necessary to attend to the whok 
ingesta — to the fluid with as much care as the solid. 
And I am persuaded that the errors into which men 
have fallen with regard to supposed mischiefs or incon- 
veniences (as weakness, for example), as resulting from 
a restriction to a vegetable diet, have, to a very con- 
siderable extent arisen from a want of a proper atten- 
tion to the quality of the water they drank. So fai 
back as the year 1803, 1 found that the use of pure dis- 
tilled, instead of common water, relieved a state of 
habitual suffering of the stomach and bowels. On this 
account, I always require that distilled water shall be 
joined to the use of a vegetable diet ; and consider this 
to be essential to the treatment.^' 


Professor Lawrence is the author of a work entitled 
Lectures on Physiology, Zoology, and the Natural His- 
tory of Man. He is a member of the Royal College of 
Surgeons, London, Professor of Anatomy and Surgery to 
the College, and Surgeon to several Hospitals. In hia 
work above mentioned, after much discussion in regard 
to the natural dietetic character of man, he thus re- 
marks : 



*'That animal food renders man strong and coura- 
geous, is fully disproved by the inhabitants of northern 
Europe and Asia, the Laplanders, Sanioiedes, Ostiacs, 
Tuogooses, Burats, and Kamtschadales, as well as by 
the Esquimaux in the northern, and the natives of Terra 
del Fuego in the southern extremity of America, which 
are the smallest, weakest, and least brave people of the 
globe, although they live almost entirely upon flesh, and 
that often raw. 

^ Vegetable diet is as little connected with weakness 
and cowardice, as that of animal matter is with physical 
force and courage. That men can he perfectly nour- 
ished, and their bodily and mental capabilities fully de- 
veloped in any climate, by a diet purely vegetable, ad- 
mits of abundant proof from experience. In the periods 
of their greatest simplicity, manliness, and bravery, the 
Greeks and Romans appear to have lived almost entire- 
ly on plain vegetable preparations. Indifferent bread, 
fruits, and other produce of the earth, are the chief 
nourishment of the modern Italians, and of the mass of 
the population in most countries in Europe. Of those 
more immediately known to ourselves, the Irish and 
Scotch may be mentioned, who are certainly not ren- 
dered weaker than their English fellow-subjects by 
their free use of vegetable aliment. The Negroes, 
whose great bodily powers are well known, feed chiefly 
on vegetable substances ; and the same is the case with 
the South Sea Islanders, whose agility and strength 
were so great that the stoutest and most expert En- 
glish sailors had no chance with them in wrestling and 

The concession of Prof. L., which I have placed in 
italic, is sufficient for our purpose ; we ask no more. 


Nevertheless, I am willing to hear his views of the in- 
dications afforded by our anatomical character, which 
lire, as will be seen, equally decisive in favor of vege- 
table eating. 

''Physiologists have usually reprcfsented that our 
species holds a middle rank, in the masticatory and di- 
gestive apparatus, between the flesh-eating and herb- 
ivorous animals — a statement which seems rather to 
have been deduced from what we have learned by ex- 
perience on the subject, than to result from an actual 
comparison of men and animals. 

" The teeth and jaws of men are, in all respects, much 
more similar to those of monkeys than of any other an- 
imal. The number is the same as in man, and the form 
so closely similar, that they might easily, be mistaken 
for human. In most of them, except the ourang-outang, 
the canine teeth are much larger and stronger than in 
us ; and so far, these animals have a more carnivorous 
character than man. 

" Thus we find, that whether we consider the teeth 
and jaws, or the immediate instruments of digestion, 
the human structure closely resembles that of the 
simiae (monkey race), all of which, in their natural 
state, are completely herbivorous. Man possesses a 
tolerably large ccecum, and a cellular colon ; which I 
believe are not found in any herbivorous animal." 

The ourang-outang naturally prefers fruits and nuts, 
ns the professor himself shows by extracts from the 
statements of travelers and naturalists. He is also 
fond of bread. On board a ship or elsewhere, in con- 
finement, he may, however, be taught, like men, to eat 
almost any thing; — not only to eat milk and suck eggs, 
but even to eat raw flesh. 



It is true, indeed, after all these foregoing statements 
^nd concessions in regard to man's native character 
5md the wholesomeness of a diet exclusively vegetable 
—and after admitting that the human body and mind 
can be fully and perfectly nourished and developed on 
it, this distinguished writer goes on to say that it is still 
doubtfol which diet — animal, vegetable, or mixed — is on 
the whole most conducive to health, and strength — 
which is best calculated to avert or remove disease — 
whether errors in quantity or quality are most perni- 
cious, etc. He says the solution of these and other 
analogous questions, can only be expected from experi- 
mental investigation. He proceeds to say — 

** Mankind are so averse to relinquish their favorite 
indvlgenceSp^and to desert established habits^ that we 
cannot entertain very sanguine expectations of any im- 
portant discovery in this department. We must add to 
this, that there are many other causes affecting human 
health, besides diet. Before venturing to draw any in- 
ferences on a subject beset with so many obstacles, it 
would be necessary to observe the effects of a purely 
animal and a purely vegetable diet on several individu- 
als of different habits, pursuits, and modes of life; to 
note their state, both bodily and mental ; and to learn 
the condition of two or three generations fed in the 
same manner." 

Now, the only difference between this opinion and 
what I conceive to be the truth in the case is, that just 
such experimental investigations as those to which he 
refers have, to all intents and purposes, been already 
made ; as, I trust, will be distinctly shown in the sequel 
of this work. 



Dr. Salgues, Physician, and Professor of Anatomy, 
Physiology, etc., etc., to the Institute of France, some 
years ago wrote a book, entitled " Rules for Preserving 
the Health of the Aged," which contained many very 
judicious remarks on diet. There is nothing in the vol- 
ume, however, which is decidedly in favor of a diet ex- 
clusively vegetable, unless it is a few anecdotes ; and I 
have introduced his name chiefly as a sort of authority 
for those anecdotes. They are the following : 

"Josephus informs us that the Essenes were very 
long lived ; many lived upward of one hundred years, 
solely from their simple habits and sobriety. Aristotle 
and Plato speak of Herodicus the philosopher, who, al- 
though of a feeble and consumptive habit, lived, in con- 
sequence of his sobriety, upward of one hundred years. 
Phabrinus, mentioned by Athenius, lived more than one 
hundred years, drinking milk only. Zoroaster, accord- 
ing to Pliny, remained twenty years in a desert, living 
on a small quantity of cheese only." 


The British author of " Sure Methods of Improving 
Health and Prolonging Life," supposed by many to be 
the distinguished Dr. Johnson, speaks thus : 

" It must be confessed that, in temperate climates, at 
least, an animal diet is, in one respect, more wasting 
than a vegetable, because it excites, by its stimulating 
qualities, a temporary fever after every meal, by which 
the springs of life are urged into constant, preternatural, 
and weakening exertions. Again ; persons who live 
chiefly on animal food are subject to various acute and 


fatal disorders, as the scurvy, malignant ulcers, infiam 
matory fevers, etc., and are likewise liable to corpu- 
lency, more especially when united to inordinate quan- 
tities of liquid aliment. There appears to be also a 
tendency in an animal diet to promote the formation of 
many chronic diseases ; and we seldom find those who 
indulge much in this diet to be remarkable for longevity. 
•*In favor of vegetables, it may be justly said, that 
man could hardly live entirely on animal food, but we 
know he may on vegetable. Vegetable aliment has 
likewise no tendency to produce those constitutional 
disorders which animal food so frequently occasions. 
And this is a great advantage, more especially in our 
country (he means in Great Britain), where the gene- 
ral sedentary mode of living so powerfully contributes 
to the formation and establishment of numerous severe 
chronic maladies. Any unfavorable effects vegetable 
food may have on the body, are almost wholly confined 
to the stomach and bowels, and rarely injure the sys- 
em at large. This food has also a beneficial influence 
on the powers of the mind, and tends to preserve a 
delicacy of feeling, and liveliness of imagination, and 
acuteness of judgment, seldom enjoyed by those who 
live principally on meat. It should also be added, that 
a vegetable diet, when it consists of articles easily di- 
gested, as potatoes, turnips, bread, biscuit, oat-meal, 
etc., is certainly favorable to long life." 


Perhaps it is not generally known that Baron Cuvier, 

* Cavier was not a medical man, but I have classed him with medical 
men, on acconnt of his profound knowledge (if Comparative Anatomy 
and Physiology. 


the prince of naturaUsts, in the progress of his research- 
es came to the most decisive conclusion, that, so far as 
any thing can be ascertained or proved by the investi- 
gation of science in regard to the natural dietetic char- 
acter of man, he is a fruit and vegetable eater. I have 
not seen his own viev^s ; but the following are said, by 
an intelligent writer, to be a tolerably faithful transcript 
of them, and to be derived from his Comparative Anat- 

"Man resembles no carnivorous animal. There is 
no exception, unless man be one, to the rule of herbivo- 
rous animals having cellulated colons. 

" The ourang-outang perfectly resembles man, both in 
the order and number of his teeth. The ourang-outang 
is the most anthropomorphous of the ape tribe, all of 
which are strictly frugivorous. There is no other spe- 
cies of animals, which live on different food, in which 
this analogy exists. In many frugivorous animals, the 
canine teeth are more pointed and distinct than those 
of man. The resemblance also of the human stomach 
to that of the ourang-outang, is greater than to that of 
any other animal. 

" The intestines are also identical with those of herb- 
ivorous animals, which present a large surface for ab- 
sorption, and have ample and cellulated colons. The 
ccEcum also, though short, is larger than that of car- 
nivorous animals ; and even here the ourang-outang re- 
tains its accustomed similarity.^ 

"The structure of the human frame, then, is that of one 
fitted to a pure vegetable diet, in every essential partic- 
ular. It is true, that the reluctance to abstain from ani- 
mal food, in those who have been long accustomed to 
its stimulus, is so great in some persons of weak minds. 


as to be scarcely overcome ; but this is far from being 
any argument in its favor. A lamb, which was fed for 
some time on flesh by a ship's crew, refused its natural 
diet at the end of the voyage. There are numerous 
instances of horses, sheep, oxen, and even wood-pigeons, 
having been taught to live upon flesh, until they have 
loathed their natural aliment." 

No one will deny that Baron Cuvier was in favor of 
jflesh eating ; but it was not because he ever believed, 
for one moment, that man was naturally a flesh-eating 
animal. Man is a reasoning animal (he argues), and 
intended to be so. If left to the guidance of his in- 
stincts, the same yielding to the law of his structure 
which would exclude flesh meats, should also exclude 
cookery. Or, in other words, if he is no permitted to 
depart from the line of life which his structure indi- 
cates, he must no more cook his vegetables than eat 
animal food. Besides, he is made, as Cuvier supposes, 
for artificial society, and the Creator designed him to 
improve his food ; and, if I understand his reasoning, he 
is better able, with his present structure of teeth, jaws, 
stomach, intestines, etc., to make this improvement, and 
rise above his nature, and yield to the force and indica- 
tions of reason and experience, than if he possessed any 
other known living structure. 

To this structure, however, as well as to the same 
power of adaptation, the monkey race, and especially 
the ourang-outang, closely appproximates. Cuvier's 
reasoning, in my view, applies only to the adaptability 
(if I may be allowed the expression) of the human ani- 
mal, without deciding how far he should avail himself 
of his power to make changes. 



I have alluded, in another part of this work, to the 
prize essay of Dr. Bell, awarded to him by the Boylston 
Medical Committee on the subject of the diet of labor- 
ers in New England. Dr. Bell is a physician of re- 
spectable talents, and is at present the Physician to an 
Insane Hospital in Gharlestown, near this city. 

Dr. Bell admits, with the most distinguished natural- 
ists and physiologists of Europe, — Cuvier, Lawrence, 
Blumenbach, Bell of London, Richerand, Marc, etc., — 
that the structure of man resembles closely that of the 
monkey race ; and hence objects to the conclusion to 
which some of these men have arrived (by jumping 
over, as it were), that man is an omnivorous animal. 
He freely allows — I use his own words — "that man 
does approximate more closely to the frugivorous ani- 
mals than to any others, in physical organization." But 
then he insists that the conclusion which ought to b^ 
drawn from this similarity " is, that he is designed to 
have his food in about the same state of mechanical co- 
hesion, requiring about the same energy of masticatory 
organs, as if it consisted of fruits, etc., alone." 

But, wherefore should we draw even this conclusion, 
if structure and instinct prove nothing, and if we are to 
be governed solely by reason, without regard to struc- 
ture and instinct ? For my own part, I believe reason 
is never true reason, when it turns wholly out of doors 
either instinct or the indications of organization. In 
other words, an enlightened reason would look both to 
the structure and organization of man, and to a large 
and broad experience, for the solution of a question so 
important as what diet is, on the whole, best for man. 

DR. BUCHAN. 143 

And the experience of the world, both in the present 
and all former ages, leads me to a conclusion entirely 
different from that to which Dr. Bell, and those who 
entertain the same views with him, seem to have ar- 
rived — a conclusion which is indicated by structure, 
and confirmed by facts and universal experience. But 
this subject will be further discussed and developed in 
another place. It is sufficient for my present purpose, 
to bring testimony in favor of the safety of vegetable 
eating, and of the doctrine that man is naturally a veg- 
etable and fruit-eating animal ; and especially if I pro- 
duce, to this end, the testimony of flesh-eaters themselves. 


^Indulgence in animal food, renders men dull and 
unfit for the pursuits of science, especially when it is 
accompanied with the free use of strong liquors. I am 
inclined to think that consumptions, so common in Eng- 
land, are, in part, owing to the great use of animal food. 
But the disease most common to this country is the 
scurvy. One finds a dash of it in almost every family, 
and in some the taint is very deep. A disease so gene- 
ral must have a general cause, and there is none so ob- 
vious as the great quantity of animal food which is de- 
voured. As a proof that scurvy arises from this cause, 
we are in possession of no remedy for that disease 
equal to the free use of fresh vegetables. By the unin- 
terrupted use of animal food, a putrid diathesis is in- 
duced in the system, which predisposes to a variety of 
disorders. I am fully convinced that many of those 
obstinate complaints for which we are at a loss to ac- 
count, and which we find it still more difficult to cure, 
are the effects of a scorbutic taint, lurking in the habit. 


"The choleric disposition of the English is almost 
proverbial. Were I to assign a cause, it would be, 
Iheir living so much on animal food. There is no doubt 
but this induces a ferocity of temper unknown to men 
whose food is taken chiefly from the vegetable king- 

" Experience proves that not a few of the diseases 
incident to the inhabitants of this country, are owing to 
their mode of living. The vegetable productions they 
consume, fall considerably short of the proportion they 
ought to bear to the animal part of their food. The 
major part of the aliment ought to consist of vegetable 
substances. There is a continual tendency in animal 
food, as well as in the human body itself, to putrefac- 
tion ; which can only be counteracted by the free use 
of vegetables. All who value health, ought to be con- 
tented with making one meal of animal food in twenty- 
four hours ; and this ought to consist of one kind only. 

*' The most obstinate scurvy has often been cured by 
a vegetable diet ; nay, milk alone, will frequently do 
more in that disease than any medicine. Hence it is 
evident that if vegetables and milk were more used in 
diet, we should have less scurvy, and likewise fewer 
putrid and inflammatory fevers. 

"Such as abound with blood (and such are almost 
all of us), should be sparing in the use of every thing 
which is highly nourishing — as fat meat, rich wines, 
strong ales, and the like. Their food should consist 
chiefly of bread and other vegetable substances ; and 
their drink ought to be water, whey, or small beer." 

* •• Unless," as a writer in the Graham Jonmal very justly observes, 
"these latter indulge, habitually and freely, in the use of intoxicatiog 


Dr. B. altso insists on a vegetable diet, as a prevent- 
ive of many diseases; particularly of consumption. 
When there is a tendency to this disease, in the young, 
he says " it should be counteracted by strictly adhering 
to a diet of the farinacea, and ripe fruits. Animal food 
and fermented liquors ought to be rigidly prohibited. 
Even milk often proves too nutritious." 


Dr. Whitlaw is the author of a work entitled " New 
Medical Discoveries," in two volumes, and of a " Trea- 
tise on Fever." He has also established medical vapor 
baths in London, New York, and elsewhere; and is a 
gentleman of much skill and eminence in his profession. 
Dr. Whitlaw says — 

** All philosophers have given their testimony in favor 
of vegetable food, from Pythagoras to Franklin. Its 
beneficial influence on the powers of the mind has been 
experienced by all sedentary and literary men. 

**But, that which ought to convince every one of the 
salubrity of a diet consisting of vegetables, is the con- 
sideration of the dreadful effects of totally abstaining 
from it, unless it be for a very short time ; accounts of 
which we meet with, fully and faithfully recorded, in 
the most interesting and most authentic narratives of 
human affairs — wars, sieges of places, long encamp- 
ments, distant voyages, the peopling of uncultivated and 
maritime countries, remarkable pestilences, and the lives 
of illustrio js men. To this cause the memorable plague 
at Athens was attributed; and indeed all the other 
plagues and epidemical distempers, of which we have 
any faithful accounts, will be found to have originated 
in a deprivation of vegetable food. 


" The only objections I have ever heard urged (the 
only plausible ones, he must mean, I think), is the notion 
of its inadequacy to the sustenance of the body. But 
this is merely a strong prejudice into which the gener- 
ality of mankind have fallen, owing to their ignorance 
of the laws of life and health. Agility and constant 
vigor of body are the effect of health, which is much 
better preserved by a herbaceous, aqueous, and sparing 
tender diet, than by one which is fleshy, vinous, unc- 
tuous, and hard 'of digestion. 

" So fully were the Romans, at one time, persuaded 
of the superior goodness of vegetable diet, that, besides 
the private example of many of their great men, they 
established laws respecting food, among which were 
the lex fannia^ and the hx licinia, which allowed but 
very little animal food ; and, for a period of five hun- 
dred years, diseases were banished along with the phy- 
sician from the Roman empire. Nor has our own age 
been destitute of examples of men, brave from the vigor 
both of their bodies and their minds, who at the same 
time have been drinkers of water and eaters of vege- 

" Nothing is more certain than that animal food is in- 
imical to health. This is evident from its stimulating 
qualities producing, as it were, a temporary fever after 
every meal ; and not only so, but from its corruptible 
qualities it gives rise to many fatal diseases ; and those 
who indulge in its use seldom arrive at an advanced 

" We have the authority of the Scripture for assert- 

* Sach was Gen. Elliot, so distuiguished at the famous siege fif Gib- 
* raltar. Sach, too, was Mr. Shillitoe, of whom honorable mention will 

be made in another place ; — besides many more. 


ing that the proper aliment of man is vegetables. See 
Genesis. And as disease is not mentianed as a part of 
the cause, we have reason to believe that the antedilu- 
vians were strangers to this evil. Such a phenomenon 
as disease could hardly exist among a people who lived 
entirely on a vegetable food ; consequently all the in- 
dividuals made mention ot" in that period of the world, 
are said to have died of old age ; whereas, since the 
day of Noah, when mankind were permitted to eat ani- 
nnal food, such an occurrence as a man dying of old 
age, or a natural decay of the bodily functions, does not 
occur probably once in half a century. 

** Its injurious effects on the mind are equally certain. 
The Tartars, who live principally on animal food, are 
cruel and ferocious in their disposition, gloomy and 
sullen minded, delighting in exterminating wars and 
plunder; while the Bramins and Hindoos, who live en- 
tirely on vegetable ahment, possess a mildness and gen- 
tleness of character and disposition directly the reverse 
of the Tartar; and I have no doubt, had India possessed 
a more popular form of government, and a more en- 
lightened priesthood, her people, with minds so fitted 
for contemplation, would have far outstripped the other 
nations of the world in manufactures, and in the arts 
and sciences. 

** But we need only look at the peasantry of Ireland, 
who, living as they do, chiefly on a vegetable — and to 
say the least of it, a very suspicious kind of aliment, I 
mean the potatoe — are yet as robust and vigorous a 
race of men as inherit any portion of the globe. 

" The greater part of our bodily disease is brought on 
by improper food. This opinion has been strongly con- 
firmed by my daily experience in the treatment of those 


diseases to which the people of England are peculiarly 
subject, such as scrofula, consumption, leprosy, etc. 
These disorders are making fearful and rapid strides ; 
so much so, that not a single family may now be con- 
sidered exempt from their melancholy ravages/' 

This is fearful testimony, but it is the result of 
much observation and of twenty years' experience. 
But the same causes are producing the same effects — 
at least, so far as scrofula and consumption are con- 
cerned — in this country, at the present time, of which 
Dr. W. complains so loudly in England. I could add 
much more from his writings, but what I have said is 


Dr. Clark, physician to the king ana queen of Bel- 
gium, in a Treatise on Pulmonary Consumption, has the 
following remarks : 

"There is no greater evil in the management of chil- 
dren than that of giving them animal diet very early* 
By persevering in the use of an over-stimulating diet, 
the digestive organs become irritated, and the various 
secretions immediately connected with and necessary 
to digestion are diminished, especially the biliary secre- 
tion ; and constipation of the bowels and congestion of 
the abdominal viscera succeed. Children so fed, more- 
over, become very liable to attacks of fever and of in- 
flammation, affecting particularly the mucous mem- 
branes; and measles and the other diseases incident 
to childhood are generally severe in their attack." 

The suggestion that a mild or vegetable diet will 
render certain diseases incident to childhood more mild 
than otherwise they would be, is undoubtedly an im- 

PROF. MUdSBY. 149 

portant one ; and as just as it is important. But the re- 
Oiark might be extended, in its application. Both chil- 
dren and adults would escape all sorts of diseases, es- 
pecially colds and epidemics, with much more certainty, 
or, if attacked, the attacks would be much more mild, 
on an exclusively vegetable diet than on a mixed one. 
Dr. Clark does not, indeed, say so ; but I may say it, 
and with confidence. And Dr. C. could not probably 
show any reason why, on his own principles, it should 
not be so. 


Prof. R. D. Mussey, of Hanover, New Hampshire, 
whose science and skill as a surgeon and physician are 
well known and attested all over New England, has for 
many years taught, both directly and indirectly, in his 
public lectures, that man is naturally a fruit and vege- 
table eater. This he proves, first, from the structure 
of his teeth and intestines — next from his physiolo^ncal 
character, and finally, from various facts and considera- 
tions too numerous to detail here. 

He thinks the Bible doctrines are in favor of tlio dis- 
use of flesh and fish ; that the Jews were required to 
abstain from pork, and from all fat and blood, for 
physiological no less than other reasons. An infant, he 
says, naturally has a disrelish for animal food. He 
says that, in all probability, animal food was not per- 
mitted, though used, before the flood ; and that its use, 
contrary to the wish of the Creator, was probably one 
cause of human degeneracy. Animal food, he says, is 
apt to produce diseases of the skin — makes people pas- 
sionate and violent — excites the nervous system too 
much — renders the senses and faculties more dull — and 


favors the accumulation of what is calfed tartar on the 
teeth, and thus causes their early and certain decay. The 
blood and breath of carnivorous animals emit an unplea- 
sant odor,while those of vegetable eaters do not. The 
fact that mundoes eat flesh no more proves its necessity, 
than the fact that cows, and sheep, and horses can be 
taught it, proves its necessity to them. The Africans 
bear the cold better the first winter after their arrival in 
a northern climate than afterward. May not this be 
owing to their simple vegetable living ? 


The Journal of Health, edited by some of the ablest 
physicians of Philadelphia, has the following remarkable 
language on the subject of vegetable food. See vol. 1, 
page 277. 

*' It is well known that vegetable substances, particu- 
larly the farinaceous, are fully sufficient, of themselves, 
for maintaining a healthy existence. We have every 
reason for believing that the fruits of the earth constitu- 
ted, originally, the only food of man. Animal food is 
digested in a much shorter period than vegetables ; from 
which circumstance, as well as its approaching much 
nearer in its composition to the substance of the body 
into which it is to be converted, it might at first be sup- 
posed the most appropriate article of nourishment. It 
has, however, been found that vegetable matter can be 
as readily and perfectly assimilated by the stomach into 
appropriate nutriment as the most tender animal sub- 
stances ; and confessedly with a less heating effect upon 
the system generally. 

"As a general rule, it will be found that those who 
make use of a diet consisting chiefly of vegetable matter 

DR. CONDIE. 151 

have a vast advantage in looks, in strength, and spirits, 
over those who partake largely of animal food. They 
are remarkable for the firm, healthy plumpness of theii 
muscles, and the transparency of their skins. This as- 
sertion, though at variance with popular opinion, is am- 
ply supported by experience-" 

At page 7 of the same volume of the Journal of Health 
we find the following remarks. The editors were allud- 
ing to those persons who think they cannot preserve 
their health und strength without flesh or fish, and who 
believe iheir children would also suffer without it : 

** For the information of all such misguided persons, 
we beg leave to state, that the large majority of man- 
kind do not eat any animal food; or, if any, they use it 
so sparingly, and at such long intervals, that it cannot 
be said to form their nourishment. Millions in Asia are 
sustained by rice alone, with perhaps a little vegetable 
oil for seasoning. 

*' In Italy and southern Europe, generally, bread, made 
of the flour of wheat or Indian corn, with lettuce and the 
like mixed with oil, constitutes the food of the most ro- 
bust part of its population. 

" The Lazzaroni of Naples, with forms so actively and 
finely proportioned, cannot even calculate on this much. 
Coarse bread and potatoes is their chief reliance. Their 
drink of luxury is a glass of iced water, slightly acidu- 

" Hundreds of thousands — we might say millions — of 
Irish do not see flesh-meat or fish from one week's end 
to another. Potatoes and oatmeal are their articles of 
food : if milk can be added it is thought a luxury. Yet 
where shall we find a more healthy and robust popula- 
tion, or one more enduring of bodily fatigue, and exhi- 

152 VB6BTABLE Dl^T. 

biting more mental vivacity ? What a contrast between 
these people and the inhabitants of the extreme north — 
the timid Laplanders, Esquimaux, and Samoideans, whose 
food is .nimost entirely animal?^ 

Again, at page 187 we are told that ** the more sim- 
ple the aliment, and the less altered by culinary process- 
es, the slower is the change in digestion ; but, at the 
same time, the less is the stimulation and wear of the 
powers of life. The Bramins of Hindostan, who live 
on exceedingly simple food, are long livers, even in a hot 
and exhausting climate. The peasants of Switzerland 
and of Scotland, nourished on bread, milk, and cheese, 
attain a very old age, and enjoy great bodily strength. 

"Where there is too much excitement of the body, 
generally, from fullness of the blood-vessels, or of any 
one of the organs, owing to a wrong direction of the 
blood to it (and in one or the other of these conditions 
we find almost every body now-a-days), animal food, by 
being long retained in the stomach, and calling into 
greater action other parts during digestion, as well ns 
furnishing them with more blood afterward, must be 
obviously improper. The more of this kind of food is 
taken under such circumstances, the greater will be the 
oppression ; and the weakness, different from that of a 
healthy person long hungered, will only be increased by 
the increased amount of blood carried to the diseased 

It is true that the editors of the Journal of Health con- 
nect with the foregoing paragraphs the statement that, 
"if it be desirable to give nutriment in a small bulk, to 
obtund completely the sensation of hunger and restore 
strength to the body, a small quantity of animal will he 
preferable to much vegetable food." But jthen it is only 

DR. J. V. c;. SMiriT. 153 

in a fe^diseased cases that any such thing is desirable. 
And even then, if we look carefully at the language 
used, the comparison is not made between animal and 
vegetable food in moderate or reasonable quantities, but 
between a small quantity of the former and much of the 


The following remarks are extracted from the Boston 
Medical Intelligencer, at a period when Dr. J. V. C. 
Smith was the editor. They have the appearance of 
being from Dr. Smith's own pen. Dr. S. is at present 
the editor of the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal : 

" It is true* that animal food contains a greater por- 
tion of nutriment, in a given quantity, than vegetables ; 
but the digestive functions of the human system become 
prematurely exhausted by constant action, and the whole 
system eventually sinks under great or uninterrupted 
excitement. If, for the various ragouts with which mo- 
dern tables are so abundantly furnished, men would sub- 
stitute wholesome vegetables and pure water, we should 
see health walking in paths that are now crowded with 
the bloated victims of voluptuous appetite. Millions of 
Gentoos have lived to an advanced age without having 
tasted any thing that ever possessed life, and been whol- 
ly free from a chain of maladies which have scourged 
every civilized nation on the globe. The wandering 
Arabs, who have traversed the barren desert of Sahara, 
subsisting on the scanty pittance of milk from the half- 
famished camel that carried them, have seen two hun- 
dred years roll round without a day of sickness." 

• So he thinks, but I think otherwise. Animal food, as I have shown 
eliewfaore, is not so nutritious as some of the farinaceous vegetables. 



Although Mr. Graham does Dot, so far as I know, lay 
claim to the " honors " of any medical institution, it can- 
Qot be doubted that his knowledge of physiology, to say 
nothing of anatomy, pathology, and medicine, is such as 
to entitle him to a high rank among medical men ; and I 
have, therefore, without hesitation, concluded to insert 
his testimony in this place. 

Of his views, however, on the subject before un^ it 
seems almost superfluous to speak, as they are set forth, 
and have been set forth for many years, so conspicu- 
ously, not only in his public lectures* but in his writings, 
that the bare mention of his name, in almost any part 
of the country, is to awaken the prejudices, if not the 
hostilities, of every foe, and of some friends (supposed 
friends, I mean), of ** temperance in all things/' It is suf- 
ficient, perhaps, for my present purpose, to say of him, 
that, after the most rigid and profound examination of 
the subject which he is capable of making — and his ca- 
pabilities are by no means very limited — it is his unhes- 
itating belief, that in every climate, and in all circum- 
stances in which it is proper for man to be placed, an 
exclusively farinaceous and fruit diet is the best adapted 
to the development and improvement of all his powers 
of body, mind, and soul ; provided, however, he were 
trained to it from the first. And even at any period of 
life, unless in the case of certain forms of diseases, he 
believes it would be preferable to exchange, in a proper 
manner, every form of mixed diet for one purely vege- 
table. Such opinions as these, as a part of his views in 
relation to the physical duties of man, he publicly, and 
strenuously, and eloquently, announces and defends. 




Dr. Andrew is a practitioner of medicine in Remsen, 
Oneida county, State of New York. Hia letter was in- 
tended for chapter iv., but came too iate. This fact is 
the only apology for inserting it in this place. Several 
interesting cases of dietetic reform accompanied the 
letter, but I must omit them, for want of room, in this 

» Rbmsen, April 28, 1838. 

Dear Sir — It is now about sixteen months since I 
adopted an exclusively vegetable diet. I have, how- 
ever, never been very much inclined to animal food ; 
and, indeed, before I ever heard of the Graham system 
I laid it aside, during summer, when farming — which, 
by the by, had always been my occupation till I com- 
menced my professional course, about four years ago. I 
have, to the best of my knowledge, enjoyed what is com- 
monly called good health, and possessed a degree of 
strength surpassed only by few ; and in connection with 
the assiduous cultivation of my mental faculties, I have 
carefully sought to improve my physical powers, which 
I deem of incalculable worth to the student, as well as 
to the laborer. 

My attention was first called to the subject of vege- 
table eating by Professor M ussey, in a lecture before 
the medical class of the Western Medical College of 
New York, while fulfilling the duties of the professor- 
ship, to which he was called in 1836. In that lecture 
our adaptations, and the design of the Crentor in regard 
to our mode of subsistence, were clearly held forth, and 
such was the impression made on my mind, that I was 


induced at once to adopt the vegetable system,- bot h in 
practice jmd theory. In my change of diet I did not 
suffer any inconvenience. The fact that I had, for some 
length of time, been living mostly on vegetables, will 
account for that circumstance, however. 

But the great advantages derived from the change 
were soon perceptible, though not appreciated by oth- 
ers. I met with much opposition from my friends, fre- 
quently being told that I was fast losing my flesh and 
all my youthful vigor and vivacity. And yet, for one 
year and more, I have not lost a pound of flesh. 

I was gazed upon as an anomaly in society ; some 
anxiously looking, and others fearfully expecting my 
downfall and destruction ; but both are alike disappoint- 
ed. The system, though I have not been able to follow 
it so strictly as I could wish, from the circumstances in 
which I have been placed, has far exceeded my expec- 
tations. One year and more has rolled away, and I 
thank God I can look back, with some degree of satis- 
faction, on the time spent in the enjoyment of that alone 
which sweetens the cup of life. My most able advo- 
cacy has been my manual exertions ; and I have demon- 
strated the utility of the system alike to the professional 
and laboring classes of community. 

I do not go beyond the truth when 1 say, that I cannot 
find a man to vie with me in the field, with the scythe, 
the fork, or the axe. I do not want any thing but potia- 
toes and salt ; and I can cut and put up four cords of 
wood in a day, with no very great exertion. I have 
frequently been told, by friends, that my potato and 
salt system would not stand the test of the field ; l>ut I 
have silenced their clamor by actual demonstration with 
n]] the implements above named. 

DR. SWfiETSER. 157 

At present, no consideration would induce me to re 
turn to my former mode of living. 

John M. Andrew. 


Dr. Sweetser is the author of a "Treatise on Con- 
sumption," and of a "Treatise on Digestion." He has 
also been a medical professor in the University of Ver- 
mont, and a public lecturer on health, in Boston. 

In his work on consumption, while speaking of th(i 
prevailing belief of a necessity for the use of animal 
food to those children who possess the scrofulous or 
consumptive tendency, he thus remarks : 

"A diet of milk and mild farinaceous articlf s, with per- 
haps light animal decoctions, appears best suited to the 
early years of life. Whenever there exists an evident 
inflammatory tendency, as is the case in some scrofulous 
systems, solid animal food, if used at all, should be taken 
v/lih the greatest precaution. 

"And again — how often is it that fat, plethoric, mc:it- 
eating children, their faces looking as though the blood 
was just ready to ooze out, are with the greatest com- 
placency exhibited by their parents as patterns of health ! 
But let it ever be remembered, that the condition of the 
system popularly called rude or full health, and which 
is the result of high feeding, is too often closely border- 
ing on a state of disease." 

In his work on digestion he seems to regard man as 
naturally an omnivorous animal ; and, taking this for 
granted, he speaks as follows respecting his diet : 

"One would hurdly assert that even in temperate cli- 
mates his (man's) system requires animal food. I doubt 
whether any instance can be adduced — unless man be 


^ardeJ as such — of an omnivorous animal incapable 

being adequately nourished by a sufficient and proper 
egetable diet. 

** Man, dwelling in a temperate climate, and with the 
power to choose, almost uniformly employs a mixture 
of animal and vegetable food ; but^ how much early ed- 
ucation may have to do in forming his taste for a mixed 
diet it is difficult to estimate. Habit has certainly great 
influence in attaching us to particular kinds of aliment 
One who has long been accustomed to animal food can- 
not at once abstain from it without experiencing some 
feebleness for the want of its stimulation, and perhaps 
even temporary emaciation. And, on the other hand, 
he who has long been confined to a vegetable diet is 
apt to lose his relish for flesh, and, on recurring sudden- 
ly to its use, to find it too exciting. 

** The liberal use of animal food has been generally 
thought requisite in arctic climes, to stimulate the func- 
tions, and thus furnish a more abundant supply of animal 
heat, to preserve against the extremity of external tem- 
perature. Northern voyagers mostly believe that fat 
animal food and oils are essential to the maintenance of 
health and life in the inhabitants of those frozen regions. 
But to me it would seem that their habits, in respect to 
diet, prove the capabilities, rather than the necessities, 
of their systems. They learn to eat their coarse fare 
because they can get no other. Their food, moreover, 
as is generally the case in savage life, is precarious; 
and thus, being at times exposed to extreme want, they 
are stimulated to greater excesses when their supplies 
are ample. 

" The fact of man's dwelling in them (the arctic re- 
gions), and rating what he can get there, no more proves 


"iufi to be naturally a flesh-eating animal than the cir- 
cumstance of some cattle learning to eat fish, when they 
^ic*e in situations where they can obtain no other food, 
l^^oves them to be piscivorous. 

'* Haller conceived it necessary that human life should 
t>e sustained by animal and vegetable food, so appor- 
tioned that neither should be in excess ; and he asserts 
^hat abstinence from animal food causes great weakness 
in the body, and usually a troublesome diarrhoea. But 
such an opinion is certainly incorrect, since not only 
particular individuals, but even numbers of people, 
dwelling in temperate climates, from various causes, 
subsist almost wholly on vegetable substances, and yet 
preserve their health and vigor. 

"Were we educated to its exclusive use, I am per- 
suaded that a vegetable diet would afford us ample sup- 
port ; but whether, if restrained from animal food, we 
should, as a consequencCy in the course of time, and un- 
der equally favoring circumstances in other respects, 
rise still higher in our moral and physical nature, re- 
mains, as I conceive, to be proved." 

These views of Dr. S. were repeated, in substance, in 
a course of lectures given by him at the Masonic Tem- 
ple, in Boston, in 1838. It will be seen that he concedes 
what the friends of the vegetable system deem a very 
important point, viz., that man's whole powers, physical, 
intellectual, and moral, can be' well developed on a diet 
exclusively vegetable. We do not ask him to grant 
more. If man is as well off on vegetable food as with- 
out it, we have moral reasons of so much weight to 
place against animal food, as, when duly considered, 
will be, by all candid persons, sufficient to lead to its 


True, we do not believe, with Dr. S. — at least I do mM>i 
— that ** whether a diet purely vegetable, or one compre- 
hending both animal and vegetable food, would be most 
conducive to health, longevity, and intellectual, moral, 
and physical development, is a question only to be de- 
termined by a long course of experiments, made by va- 
rious individuals in equal health, and placed, in all other 
respects, under as nearly similar circumstances as prac- 
ticnble." I believe this course of experiment does not 
remain to he made, but that it has been made, most fully, 
during the last four or five thousand years, and that the 
question is settled in favor — wholly so— of vegetable 
food. Still I do not ask physicians and other medi- 
cal men to grant more than Dr. S. has ; it is quite as 
much as we ought to expect of them. 

DR. A. L. PIER80N. 

Dr. Pierson, of Salem, in Massachusetts, a physician 
and surgeon of considerable eminence, in a lecture some 
time ago, before the American Institute of Instruction, 
observed that " young men who were anxious to avail 
themselves of the advantages of a literal education, and 
were therefore compelled to consult economy, had found 
out that it was not necessary to pay three or four dol- 
lars a week for mere board, when the most vigorous and 
uniform health may be secured by a diet of mere vege- 
table food and water." 

I know not that Dr. P. avows himself an advocate for 
the exclusive use of vegetable food, but if what I have 
quoted is not enough to satisfy us in regard to his opin- 
ion of its safety, and its full power to develop body and 
mind, I know not what would be. If the most vigorous 
and uniform health can be secured on vegetable food. 


^Iial individual in the world — in view of ihe moral con- 
siderations at least — would ever resort to the carcasses 
of animals ? 


A physician of some eminence, residing in Phila- 
delphia, has been heard to say that it was his decided 
opinion tliat mankind would live longest, and be health- 
iest and happiest, on mere bread and water. I may add 
here, that there was every evidence but one that he was 
sincere in this statement, although I do not fully accord 
with him, believing that the best health requires variety 
of food — not, indeed, at the same meal, but at different 
ones. The exception I make in regard to his sincerity, 
is in reference to the fact, that while he professed to be- 
lieve a bread and vegetable diet to be best for mankind, 
he did not adopt it. 


In the work entitled ** Hints to a Fashionable Lady," 
by a physician — his name not given — we find the follow- 
ing testimony : 

"Young persons invariably do best on simple but 
moderately nutritious fare. Too large a proportion of 
animal food and fatty substances are pernicious to the 
complexion. On the contrary, a diet which is principal- 
ly vegetable, with the luxuries of the dairy (not butter, 
surely, for that is elsewhere prohibited), is most advan- 
tageous. Nowhere are finer complexions to be found 
than in those parts of England, Scotland, and Ireland, 
-where the living is almost exclusively vegetable. 

"Those who subsist entirely on vegetable food have 
seldom, if ever, a constantly bad breath, or an offensive 


perspiration. It has been ascertained that the teeth are 
uniformly best in those countries where least animal foocf 
is used." 

THE female's cyclopedia. 

From a fugitive volume, entitled " The Female's Cy- 
clopedia," I have concluded to make the following ex- 
tract, because I have reason to believe the writer to 
have been a physician : 

"Animal food certainly gives most strength ; but its 
slimulancy excites fever, and produces plethora and its 
consequences. The system is sooner worn out by a 
repetition of its stimuli, and those who indulge greatly 
in such diet are more likely to be carried off early by 
inflammatory diseases ; or if, by judicious exercise, 
they qualify its effects, they yet acquire such an accu- 
mulation of putrescent fluids as becomes the foundation 
for the most inveterate chronic diseases in after age. 

" The most valuable state of the mind, however, ap- 
pears to be connected with somewhat less of firmness 
and vigor of body. Vegetable aliment, as never over- 
distending the vessels or loading the system, does not 
interrupt the stronger emotions of the mind ; while the 
heat, fullness, and weight of animal food, are inimical to 
its vigorous exertion. Temperance, therefore, does not 
so much consist in the quantity — since the appetite will 
regulate that — as in the quality; namely, in a large pro- 
portion of vegetable aliment," 


Dr. Van Cooth, a learned European writer — ■! believe 
a Hollander — has recently maintained, incidentally, in a 
learned medical dissertation, that the great body of the 


^cient Egyptians and Persians "confined themselves 
to a vegetable diet. ' To be sure, Dr. V. does not seem 
to be a vegetable eater himself, but the friends of the 
ktier system are not the less indebted to him for the 
concession. The physical and moral superiority of 
those vegetable eating nations, in the days of their glory, 
are well known ; and every intelligent reader of history, 
and honest inquirer after truth, will make his own infer- 
ences from the facts which I have mentioned 


The work of this gentleman, entitled " Experiments 
and Observations on the Gastric Juice^ and the Physiolo- 
gy of Digestion," is well known — at least to the medical 
community. The following are some of the conclusions 
to which his experiments conducted him : 

" Solid aliment, thoroughly masticated, is far more 
salutary than soups, broths, etc. 

** Fat meats, butter, and oily substances of every kind, 
are difficult of digestion, offensive to the stomach, and 
tend to derange that organ and induce disease. 

" Spices, pepper, stimulating and heating condiments 
of every kind, retard digestion and injure the stomacht 

** Coffee and tea debilitate the stomach and impair di- 

" Simple water is the only fluid called for by the wants 
of the economy ; the artificial drinks are all more or less 
injurious — some more so than others ; but none can 
claim exemption from the general charge." 

If it should be said that this testimony of Dr. Beau- 
mont is by no means directly in favor of a diet exclu- 
sively vegetable, I admit it. But he certainly goes very 
far toward conceding every thing which I claim, when 

]04 vegetable: diet. 

he says that " fat meats, butter, and oily substances ol 
every kind, are difficult of digestion, offensive to tb« 
stomach, and tend to derange that organ and induce di«- 
ease ;" and especially when he speaks so highly of fari- 
naceous substances and good fruits. Pray, what animal 
food can be eaten which does not contain, at least, a 
small quantity of oil ? And if this oil tends to induce 
disease, and farinaceous food does not, why should not 
animal food be excluded ? 


This distinguished philosopher and medical gentleman, 
though, like many others, he insisted that vegetable food 
did not produce full muscular development, yet admitted 
the natural character of man to be that of a vegetable 
eater, in the following, or nearly the following, terms: 

" In the history of man — in the Bible — we are told 
that dominion over the animal world was bestowed 
upon him at his creation ; but the divine permission to 
indulge in animal food was not given till after the flood. 
The observations I have to make accord strongly with 
this tradition ; for, while mankind remained in a state of 
innocence, there is every ground to believe that their 
only food was the produce of the vegetable kingdom.*' 


Dr. Jennings is the author of a work published at 
Oberlin, Ohio, in 1847, entitled " Medical Reform." In 
this volume, at page 198, we find the following facts and 
statements. The author is comparing the effects of ani- 
mal food on the human system with those of alcohol, 
from which we learn his views concerning the former : 

" Position I. — Animal food, in common with alcohol. 

1)K. JENNINGS. 165 

Creates a Teverish diathesis, evidences of which are — 

I An impaired state of the respiratory function. 2. 

The pulse is rendered more frequent and irregular, both 

by alcohol and meat. 3. A feverish heat is generated 

in the system, and persons are made more thirsty, by 

the use of both these substances. 4. Both substances 

equally induce what is called the digestive fever. 

" Position II. — Alcoholic drinks lay the foundation for 
occasional disturbances in the system, of different kinds 
and grades, as bilious bowel affections, etc., and so do 
flesh meats. In the production of colds, animal food is 
ikr the most efficient. 

" Position III. — Animal food tends, quite as strongly 
as the moderate use of alcoholic liquors, to weaken and 
distui'b the balance of action between the secerning and 
excerning systems of vessels, by which some persons 
become leaner and others fleshier than they should be. 

" Position IV. — With about equal potency alcohol and 
flesh meats weaken the force of the capillaries of the 
system, on which healthy action so much depends. 

•* Position V. — A flesh diet, in common with the use 
of strong drink, impairs the tone of the nutritive appara- 
tus, by which its ability to work up raw material and 
manufacture it into sound, well finished vital fabric, is 
diminished, and of course the appetite or call for food is 
satisfied with a less quantity of the raw material. This 
fact has given rise to the opinion that animal food con- 
tains more nutriment than vegetable. 

•* Position VI. — The total abandonment of an habitual 
use of animal food is attended with all the perplexing, 
uncomfortable, and distressing difficulties that follow the 
giving up of an habitual use of strong drink. A change 
from one kind of simple nutriment to another has no 


such effect. It is only when the constant use of soni^ 
stimulating substance is abandoned that such difficult', 
ies are experienced." 


This gentleman, in his " Practical Physiology/' at page 
86, has the following thoughts : 

'^ Some have contended that man was designed to eat 
only of the fruits and vegetables of the earth; while 
others maintain, with equal confidence, that he should 
add to these the flesh of beasts. There are many indi- 
viduals, both in this and other countries, who confine 
themselves to vegetable diet. They believe they enjoy 
better health, and maintain greater strength of body and 
mind, than those who live on a mixed diet. The exper- 
iment has not been tried on a sufficiently extensive range 
to determine its value. It has not proved a failure, nor 
has it demonstrated, to the satisfaction of all, that flesh 
is injurious."* 


" From the fact," says this author, " that animal food 
is proper and necessary for health in polar regions, and 
that a vegetable diet is equally proper and necessary in 
the torrid zone, we may conclude that in winter, in our 
own climate, an animal diet is the best ; while vegeta- 
bles are more conducive to health in the summer sea- 

It would not be diflSicult to prove, from the very con- 
cessions of Dr. T., that vegetable food is better adapted 

* Dr. J. here overlooks one important fact, viz., that the testimony of ail 
those who have tried the exclusive iise of vegetable food is positive in its 
nature ; while that of others, who have not tried it, is, and ueceaaarily 
must be, negative. 


toheultli, in general, than animal ; but I forbear to do so, 
ifl this place. The subject will be fully discussed in the 
concluding chapter. 


The author of a small volume recently published at 
Boston, entitled the " Philosophy of Health ; or. Health 
without Medicine," is more decided in his views on diet 
than any late writer I have seen, except Dr. Jennings 
and O. S. Fowler. He says, at page 35 : 

** Man, in his original, holy state, was provided for 
from the vegetables of that happy garden which was 
given him to prune. This was the Creator's original 
plan ; * * * * the eating of flesh was one of the 
consequences of the fall. Living on vegetable food is 
undoubtedly the most natural and healthy method of 

Again, at page 45 — " The objections, then, against 
meat-eating are threefold — intellectual, moral, and physi- 
cal. Its tendency is to check intellectual activity, to 
depreciate moral sentiment, and to derange the fluids of 
the body." 


This active physician is zealously devoted to the 
propagation of hydropathy. He uses no medicine in 
the management of disease — nothing at all but water. 
To this, however, he adds great attention to diet. In 
his Journal,* and elsewhere, he is a zealous and able 
advocate of the vegetable system, preferring it himself, 
and recommending it to his patients and followers. 

Dr. Shew's opinion, in this particular, is entitled to 

• The Waler-Curo Journal. 


the more weight from the fact of his having been ver/ 
familiar with disease and diet, both in the old worM 
and the new. He has been twice to Germany ; and 
has spent much time at Graefenberg, with Priessnitz, 
the founder of the system which he so zealously defends 
and practices, and so strongly advocates 


Dr. C. Morrill, in a recent work entitled, " Physiology 
of Woman, and her Diseases," says much in favor of an 
exclusively vegetabJe diet in some of the diseases of 
woman ; and among other things, makes the following 
general remarks : 

"Even by those who labor (referring here to the 
healthy), meat should be taken moderately, and but once 
a day. The sedentary, generally, do not need it" 


This gentleman's testimony has been given elsewhere. 
" I only subjoin the following: '^By far the greater num- 
ber of the inhabitants of the earth have used, in all ages, 
and continue to use, at this time, vegetable aliment 


Dr. D. B. Bradley, the distinguished missionary at 
Bangkok, in Siam, though not exactly a vegetable eater, 
is favorably disposed to the vegetable system. He has 
read Graham and myself wit great care, and is an 
anxious inquirer after all truth. 



Dr. ChauDcy Stephenson, of Chesterfield, Massachu- 
setts, in what he calls his ** New System of Medicine,^ 
commends to all his readers, for their sustenance, ** pure 
air, a proper temperature, good vegetable food, and 
pure cold water." And lest he should be misunder- 
stood, he immediately adds — " The best articles of food 
for general use are good, well-baked oold bread, made 
of rye and Indian corn, wheat or barley meal ; rice, 
good ripe fruits of all kinds, both fresh and dried, and a 
proper proportion of good roots, such as potatoes, 
parsneps, turnips, onions, etc." Even milk he regards 
«is a questionable food for adults or middle aged per- 

Again, he says: ** Animal food, in general, digests 
sooner than most kinds of vegetables ; and not being so 
much in accordance with man's nature, constitution, 
and moral character, it is very liable, finally, to gener- 
4ite disease, inflammatk)n, or ftver, even when it is not 
taken to excess." He closes by advising all persons to 
content themselves with ** pure vegetable food ;" and 
that in the least quantity compatible with good health. 


A distinguished dentist of New York, has long been 
a vegetable eater, and a zealous defender of the faith 
(in this particular) which he professes. 


In a work entitled Hydrotherapia, says, *' Children 
thrive best upon a simple, moderately nourishing vege- 
table diet." And if children thus thrive the best, why 
not adults? 



Dr. G. V. Schlemmer, a Grerman by birth, but now 
an adopted son of old England, in giving an account of 
the diet of himself, his three sons of eleven, ten, and 
four years of age, with their tutor, observes : ^ Raw 
peas, beans, and fruit are our food : our teeth are our 
mills ; the stomach is the kitchen." And all of them, 
as he affirms, enjoy the best of health. For himself, 
as he says, he has practiced in this* way six years. 


Dr. Curtis, a distinguished botanic physician of Ohio, 
with several other physicians, both of the old and 
the new school, whom I have not named, do not hes- 
itate to regard a pure vegetable diet, in the abstract, 
as by far the best for all mankind, both in health and 

Dr. Porter, of Waltham, for example, when I meet 
him, always concedes that a well-selected vegetable 
diet is superior to every other. He has repeatedly told 
me of an experiment he made, of three months, on mere 
bread and water. Never, says he, was I more vigor- 
ous in body and mind, than at the end of this experi- 
ment. But the reader well knows that I am not an 
advocate of a diet of mere bread and water. I regard 
fruits, or fruit juices — unfermented — almost as neces- 
sary, to adults, as bread. 


The reputation of this gentleman, in the scientific 
world, is so well known, that no apology can be neces- 
sary for inserting his testimony. As a chemist, he is 


Second to very few, if any, men in this country. The 
following are his remarks : 

"Start not back at the idea of subsisting upon the 
potato alone, ye who think it necessary to load your 
tables with all the dainty viands of the market — 
with fish, flesh, and fowl, seasoned with oil and spices, 
and eaten, perhaps, with wines ; — start not back, I say, 
with disgust, until you are able to display in your own 
pani|)ered persons a firmer muscle, a more beau-ideal 
outline, and a healthier red than the potato-fed peas- 
antry of Ireland and Scotland once showed you, as you 
passed by their cabin doors ! 

** No ; the chemical physiologist will tell you that the 
well ripened potato, when properly cooked, contains 
every element that man requires for nutrition ; and in 
the best proportion in which they are found in any 
plant . whatever. There is the abounding supply of 
starch for enabling him to maintain the process of 
breathing, and for generating the necessary warmth of 
body ; there is the nitrogen for contributing to the 
growth and renovation of organs ; the lime and phos- 
phorus for the bones ; and all the salts which a healthy 
circulation demands. In fine, the potato may well be 
called the universal plant." 


•* Chemistry" says Blackwood's Magazine, "has al- 
ready told us many remarkable things in regard to the 
vegetable food we eat — that it contains, for example, a 
certain per centage of the actual fat and lean we con- 
same in our beef, or mutton, or pork — and, therefore, 
that he who lives on vegetable food may be as strong 
as the man who lives on animal food, because both in 


reality feed on Ihe same things, in a somewhat differ- 
ent form.*' 

There is this difference, however, that in the one 
case — that is, in the use of the vegetables which con- 
tain the elements referred to — we save the trouble of 
running it through the body of the living animal, and 
losing seven eighths of it, as we do, practically in the 
process; whereas in the other we do not. Wc also 
save ourselves the necessity of training the young and 
the old to scenes of butchery and blood. 


This gentleman, in a recent edition of his ^ Elements 
of Agricultural Chemistry and Geology," tells us that 
from experiments made in the laboratory of the Agri- 
cultural Association of Scotland, wheat and oats, when 
analyzed, contain of nutritious properties the following 
proportion : 

Muse, matter. 



Wheat, . 

• . 10 pounds, 

3 pouods. 

^ 50 pouDds. 

Oats, . . 

. . 18 " 

6 " 

65 " 

Thus oats, and even wheat, are quite rich in that 
which forms muscular matter in the human body. 


This gentleman, in his fifty-first year, stales that hav- 
ing been for several years aflilicted with a severe 
cough, which he supposed bordered upon consumption, 
he " discontinued the use of flesh meat, fish, fowl, but- 
ter, gravy, ten, and coffee, and made use of a plain 
vegetable diet." " My bread," says he, " is made of 
unboiled wheal meal ; my drink is pure cold water ; my 
bed, for winter and summer, is male of the everlasting 


flower ; and my health is, and ever has been, perfect, 
since I got fairly cleansed from the filthiness of flesh 
meat, and other pernicious articles of diet in common 

"My business requires a great degree of activity, and 
I can truly say that I am a stranger to weariness or 
languor. At the time of entering upon this system, I 
had a wife and five children, the youngest eight years 
of age ; — they all soon entered upon the same course 
of living with myself, and soon were all benefited in 
health. I have now six children — the youngest fifteen 
months old, and as happy as a lark. Previous to the 
time of our adopting the present system of living, my 
expenses for medicine and physicians would range from 
$20 to $30 a year — for the last four years it has been 
nothing worth naming." 


Mr. Emerson was a teacher of eminence, known 
throughout the United States, but particularly so in 
Massachusetts and Connecticut. He died in the latter 
state, in 1833, aged about fifty-five. He had long been 
a miserable dyspeptic, but was probably kept alive 
amid certain strange violations of physical law, such 
as studying hard till midnight, for example, for many 
years, by his great care in regard to his diet. Mrs. 
Banister, late Miss Z. P. Grant (the associate, at Ips- 
wich, of Miss Lyon, who died recently at South Had- 
ley, who was his pupil), thus speaks of his rigid habits : 

" He not only uniformly rejected whatever food he 
hnd decided to be injurious to him, but whatever he 
deemed necessary for his food or drink, was always 
taken, whether at home or abroad. As his diet, for 


several years, consisted generally, either of bread and 
milk, or of bread and butter, what solid food he wanted 
could be supplied at any table."* 

It is also testified of him, by his brother, Prof Emer- 
son, of Andover, that " foF more than thirty years he 
adopted the practice of eating but one kind at a meal." 
If I do not misremember, for I knew him well, he was 
in favor of banishing flesh and fish, and substituting 
milk and fruits in their stead, on Bible ground. — I refer 
here to the Divine arrangement in the first cluipter of 
Genesis ; and which has never, that I am aware, been 

» TAK 8ISS0N. , 

Tak Sisson, as he was called, was a slave in the 
family of a man in Rhode Island, before and during the 

From early childhood he could never be prevailed 
on to eat any flesh or fish, but he subsisted on vegeta- 
ble food and milk ; neither could he be persuaded to 
eat high seasoned food of any kind. When he was 
a child, his parents used to scold him severely, and 
threaten to whip him because he refused to eat flesh. 
They said to him (as I have been told a thousand 
times), that if he did not eat meat he would never be 
good for any thing, but would always be a poor, puny 

But Tak persevered in his vegetable and unstimu- 
lating diet, and, to the surprise of all, grew fast, and his 
body was finely developed and athletic. He was very 

* Au aged lady, of Dedham — a pillar in every good cause — has. for 
twelve or fifteen years, carried abrond with her, when traveling, tutme 
plain bread and apples ; and no entreaties will prevail with her, at home 
or abroad, to eat luxuries. 

TAK sissoir. 175 

*^Oiit and robust, and aftogether the most vigorous and 
dexterous of any of the family. He finally became 
'^ore than six feet high, and every way well propor- 
tioned, and remarkable for his agility and strength. 
He was so uncommonly shrewd, bright, strong, and 
uctive, that he became notorious for his shrewdness, 
and for his feats of strength and agility. Indeed, he 
Was so full of his playful mischief as greatly to annoy 
his overseer. 

During the Revolutionary War it became an object to 
take Gen. Prescott A door was to be forced where 
he was quartered and sleeping, and Tak was selected 
for the work. Having taken his lesson from the Ameri- 
can officer, he proceeded to the door, plunged his thick 
head against it, burst it open, roused Gen. P., like a 
tiger sprung upon him, seized him in his brawny arms, 
and in a low, stern voice, said, "One word, and you 
are a dead man." Then hastily snatching the general's 
cloak and wrapping it round him, at the same time tell- 
ing a companion to take care of the rest of his clothes, 
he took him in his arms, as if a child, and ran with 
him to a boat which was waiting, and escaped with his 
prisoner without rousing even the British sentinels. 

Tak lived on his vegetable fare to a very advanced 
age, and was remarkable, through life, for his activity 
strength, and shrewdness. 




General Remarica.— Testimony of Plaatoa.~Platarcb.— Porphyry.— Lord Bacon.— 
Sir WilHam Temple.— Cicero.— Cyrua the Great— GaeeendL— Prof! Hitchcock.— 
Lord Kalma.— Dr. Thomaa Dick.— Prof. Baah.— Thomaa ShiUitoe. — ^Alexander 
Pope.— Sir Richard PhilUpa.— Sir laaac Newton.— The Abb6 GallanL— Homer.— 
Dr. Franklin.— Mr. Newton.— O. S. Fowler. — Rev. Mr. Johnston.— John H. Chan- 
dler.— Rev. J. CasweU.— Mr. Chinn.— Father Sewall.— MagliabecchL— Oberlin and 
Swartz. — Jamea Haughton. — John Bailies. — ^Francis Hupazoli. — ^Prof. Ferguson. — 
Howard* the Philanthropist. — Gen. Elliot. — ^Encyclcqpedia Americana.— Thomas 
B«I1, of London.— LinnsBos, the Natoraliat— Shelley, the Poet— Rev. Mr. Rich^— 
Rev. John Wesloy.— LamartfaMt. 


This chapter might have been much more extended 
than it is. I might have mentioned, for example, the 
cases of Daniel and his three brethren, at the court of 
the Babylonian monarch, who certainly maintained their 
health — if they did not even improve it — by vegetable 
food, and by a form of it, too, which has by many been 
considered rather doubtful. I might have mentioned 
the case of Paul,* who, though he occasionally appears 
to have eaten flesh, said, expressly, that he would ab- 
stain from it while the world stood, where a great moral 
end was to be gained ; and no one can suppose he 
would have done so, had he feared any injury would 
thereby result to his constitution of body or mind. 

The case of William Penn, if I remember rightly 
what he says in his " No Cross no Crown,'' would have 
been in point. Jefferson, the third President of the 

* Some, however, represent the great apostle to have been a rigid 
vegetable eater. On this point I have do settled opinion. 


United States, was, according to his own story, almost 
^ Vegetable eater, during the whole of his long life. He 
*^ys he abstained principally from animal food ; using it, 
^^ he used it at all, only as a condiment for his vegeta- 
t>les. And does any one, who has read his remarks, 
^oubt that his ** convictions *' were in favor of the exclu- 
sive use of vegetable food ? * 

However, to prevent the volume from much exceed- 
ing the limits originally assigned it, I will be satisfied — 
^nd I hope the public will — with the following selections 
f^f testimonies, ancient and modern ; some of more, some 
of less importance ; but all of them, as it appears to me, 
worthy of being collected and incorporated into a vol- 
ume like this, and fs^ithfully and carefully examined. 


Plautus, a distinguished dramatic Roman writer, who 
flourished about two thousand years ago, gives the fol- 
lowing remarkable testimony against the use of animal 
food, and of course in favor of the salubrity of vegeta- 
bles; a'ddressed, indeed, to his own countrymen and 
times, but scarcely less applicable to our own : 

** You apply the term wild to lions, panthers, and ser- 
pents ; yet, in your own savage slaughters, you surpass 
them in ferocity ; for the blood shed by them is a mat- 
ter of necessity, and requisite for their subsistence. 

"But, that man is not, by nature, destined to devour 
animal food, is evident from the construction of the hu- 
man frame, which bears no resemblance to wild beasts 
or birds of prey. Man is not provided with claws or 
talons, with sharpness of fang or tusk, so well adapted 
to tear and lacerate ; nor is his stomach so well braced 
and muscular, nor his animal spirits so warm, as to 


enable him to digest this solid mass of animal flesh. On 
the contrary, nature has made his teeth smooth, hif 
mouth narrow, and his tongue soft ; and has contrived, 
by the slowness of his digestion, to divert him from de- 
vouring a species of food so ill adapted to his frame and 
constitution. But, if you still maintain that such is your 
natural mode of subsistence, then follow nature in your 
mode of killing your prey, and employ neither knife, 
hammer, nor hatchet — but, like wolves, bears, and lions, 
seize an ox with your teeth, grasp a boar round the 
body, or tear asunder a lamb or a hare, and, like the- 
savage tribe, devour them still panting in the agonies of 

•* We carry our luxury still farther, by the variety of 
sauces and seasonings which we add to our beastly ban- 
quets — mixing together oil, wine, honey, pickles, vinegar, 
and Syrian and Arabian ointments and perfumes, as if 
we intended to bury and embalm the carcasses on which 
we feed. The difficulty of digesting such a mass of 
matter, reduced in our stomachs to a state of liquefac- 
tion and putrefaction, is the source of endless disorders 
in the human frame. 

"First of all, the wild, mischievous animals were se- 
lected for food ; and then the birds and fishes were 
dragged to slaughter; next, the human appetite directed 
itself against the laborious ox, the useful and fleece-bear- 
ing sheep, and the cock, the guardian of the house. At 
last, by this preparatory discipline, man became matured 
for human massacres, slaughters, and wars." 


" It is best to accustom ourselves to eat no flesh at all, 
for the earth affords plenty enough of things not only fit 


*Or nourishment, but for enjoyment and delight ; some 
of which may be eaten without much preparation, and 
others may be made pleasant by adding divers othei 
things to them. 

** You ask me," continues Plutarch, ** * for what reason 
Pythagoras abstained from eating the flesh of brutes V 
For my part, I am astonished to think, on the contrary, 
iwhat appetite first induced man to taste of a dead car- 
cass ; or what motive could suggest the notion of nour- 
ishing himself with the flesh of animals which he saw, 
the moment before, bleating, bellowing, walking, and 
looking around them. How could he bear to see an im- 
potent and defenceless creature slaughtered, skinned, 
and cut up for food ? How could he endure the sight of 
the convulsed limbs and muscles? How bear the smell 
arising from the dissection ? Whence happened it that 
he was not disgusted and struck with horror when he 
came to handle the bleeding flesh, and clear away the 
clotted blood and humors from the wounds ? 

"We should therefore rather wonder at the conduct 
of those who first indulged themselves in this horrible 
repast, than at such as have humanely abstained from 


Porphyry, of Tyre, lived about the middle of the third 
century, and wrote a book on abstinence from animal 
food. This book was addressed to an individual who 
had once followed the vegetable system, but had after- 
ward relinquished it. The following is an extract from 

" You owned, when you lived among us, that a vege- 
table diet was preferable to animal food, both for pre- 


serving the health and for facilitating the study of phi- 
losophy ; and now, since you have eat flesh, your own 
experience nriust convince you that what you then con- 
fessed was true. It was not from those who lived on 
vegetables that robbers or murderers, sycophants or 
tyrants, have proceeded ; but from jlesh-eaters. The : 
necessaries of life are few and easily acquired, without j 
violating justice, liberty, health, or peace of mind; ^ 
whereas luxury obliges those vulgar souls who take^^ 
delight in it to covet riches, to give up their liberty, to^v 
sell justice, to nnsspend their time, to ruin their health^^^ 
and to renounce the joy of an upright conscience.** 

He lakes pains to persuade men of the truth of tho^ 
two following propositions : 

1st. *' That n conquest over the appetites and pas- 
sions will greatly contribute to preserve health and to 
remove distempers. 

2d. " That a simple vegetable food, being easily pro- 
cured and easily digested, is a mighty help toward ob- 
taining this conquest over ourselves." 

To prove the first proposition, he appeals to experi- 
ence, and proves that many of his acquaintance who 
had disengaged themselves from the care of anmssing 
riches, and turning their thoughts to spiritual subjects, 
had got rid entirely of their bodily distempers. 

In confirmation of the second proposition, he argues 
in the following manner: "Give me a man who con- 
siders, seriously, what he is, whence he came, and 
whither he must go, and from these considerations re- 
solves not to be led astray nor governed by his pas- 
sions ; and let such a man tell me whether a rich ani- 
mal diet is more easily procured or incites less to irreg- 
ular passions nnd appetites than a light vegetable diet I 


«Ut if neither he, nor a physician, nor indeed any rea- 
sonable man whatsoever, dares to affirm this, why do 
'^e oppress ourselves with animal food, and why do we 
iiot, together with luxury and flesh meat, throw off the 
"incumbrances and snares which attend them ?" 


Lord Bacon, in his treatise on Life and Death, says, 
** It seems to be approved by experience, that a spare 
sind almost a Pythagorean diet, such as is prescribed 
by the strictest monastic life, or practiced by hermits, is 
most favorable to long life." 


•'The patriarchs' abodes were not in cities, but in 
open countries and fields. Their lives were pastoral, 
and employed in some sorts of agriculture. They were 
of the same race, to which their marriages were gen- 
erally confined. Their diet was simple, as that of the 
ancients is generally represented. Among them flesh 
and wine were seldom used, except at sacrifices nt 
solemn feasts, 

"The Brachmans, among the old Indians, were all of 
the same races, lived in fields and in woods, after the 
,^ course of their studies was ended, and fed only upon 
rice, milk, andjierbs. 

"The Brazilians, when first discovered, lived the 
most natural, original lives of mankind, so frequently 
described in ancient countries, before laws, or property, 
or arts made entrance among them ; and so their cus- 
toms may be concluded to have been yet more simple 
than either of the other two. They lived without busi- 
ness or labor, further than for their necessary food, by 
gathering fruits, herbs, and plants. They knew no other 


drink but water ; were not tempted to eat or drink be- 
yond common appetite and thirst; were not troubled 
with either public or domestic cares, and knew no plea- 
sures but the most simple and natural. 

" From all these examples and customs, it may proba* - 
bly be concluded that the common ingredients of health ^ 
and long life are, great temperance, open air, easy labor^^^ 
little care, simplicity of diet — rather fruits and plants 
than flesh, which easier corrupts — and water, which^ 
preserves the radical moisture without too much in^ 
creasing the radical heat. Whereas sickness, decay, 
and death proceed commonly from the one preying too 
fast upon the other, and at length wholly extinguish- 
ing it.^ 


This eminent man sometimes, if not usually, confined 
himself to vegetable food. Of this we have evidence, 
in his complaints about the refinements of cookery — 
that they were continually tempting him to excess, etc. 
He says, that after having withstood all the temptations 
that the noblest lampreys and oysters could throw in 
his way, he was at last overpowered by paltry beets 
and mallows. A victory, by the way, which, in the 
case of the eater of plain food, is very often achieved. 


This distinguished warrior was brought up, like the 
inferior Persians, on bread, cresses, and water; and, 
notwithstanding the temptations of a luxurious and vo- 
luptuous court, he rigorously adhered to his simple diet. 
Nay, he even carried his simple habits nearly through 
life with him; and it was not till he had completely 
established one of the largest and most powerful em- 


Pires of antiquity that he began to yield to the luxuries 
^f the times. Had he pursued his steady course of 
temperance through life, the historian, instead of recoi;d- 
ing his death at only seventy, might have told us that 
he died at a hundred or a hundred and fifty. 


Two hundred and twenty years ago, Peter Gassendi, 
a famous French philosopher— and by the way, one of 
the most learned men of his time — wrote a long epistle 
to Van Helmont, a Dutch chemist, on the question 
whether the teeth of mankind indicate that they are 
naturally flesh-eaters. 

In this epistle, too long for insertion here,* Gassendi 
maintains, with great ingenuity, that the human teeth 
were not made for flesh. He does not evade any of 
the facts in the case, but meets them all fairly and dis- 
cusses them freely. And after having gone through 
with all parts of the argument, and answered every 
other conceivable objection, he thus concludes : 

" And here I feel that it may be objected to me : 
Why, then, do you not, yourself, abstain from flesh and 
feed only on fruits and vegetables ? I must plead the 
force of habit, for my excuse. In persons of mature 
age nature appears to be so wholly changed, that this 
artificial habit cannot be renounced without some detri- 
ment. But I confess that if I were wise, and relin- 
quishing the use of flesh, should gradually accustom 
myself to the gifts of the kind earth, I have little doubt 
that I should enjoy more regular health, and acquire 
greater activity of mind. For truly our numerous dis- 

* It may be found at fall length at page 233 of the 6th volume of the 
Library of Health. 


enses, and the dullness of our faculties, seem principally 
produced in this way, that flesh, or heavy, and, as I 
may say, too substantial food, overloads the stomach, is 
oppressive to the whole body, and generates a sub- 
stance too dense, and spirits too obtuse. In a word, it 
is a yarn too coarse to be interwoven with the threads 
of man's nature." 

I know how it strikes many when they find such men 
as Gassendi, admitting the doctrines for which I con- 
tend, in theory, and even strenuously defending them, 
and yet setting them at naught in practice. Surely, 
say they, such persons cannot be sincere. For myself, 
however, I draw a very different conclusion. Their 
conduct is perfectly in harmony with that of the theo- 
retic friends of cold water, plain dress, and abstemious- 
ness in general. They are compelled to admit the 
truth ; but it is so much against their habits, as in the 
case of Gassendi, besides being still more strongly op- 
posed to their lusts and appetites, that they cannot, or 
rather, will not conform to what they believe, in their 
daily practice. Their testimony, to me, is the stron- 
gest that can be obtained, because they testify against 
themselves, and in spite of themselves. 


This gentleman, a distinguished professor in Amherst 
College, is the author of a work, entitled "Dyspepsia 
Forestalled and Resisted" which has been read by 
many, and execrated by not a few of those who are so 
wedded to their lusts as to be unwilling to be told of 
their errors. 

I am not aware that Professor H. has any where, in 
his writings, urged a diet exclusively vegetable, for all 


^^^sses of the community, although I believe he docs 
^t hesitate to urge it on all students ; and one might 
almost infer, from his works of various kinds, that if he 
is not already a believer in the doctrines of its univer- 
sal superiority to a mixed diet, he is not very far from 
it. In a sermon of his, in the National Preacher, for 
November, 1834, he calls a diet exclusively vegetable, 
a *' proper course of living." 

I propose to add here a few anecdotes of his, which I 
know not how to find elsewhere. 

** Pythagoras restricted himself to vegetable food al- 
together, his dinner being bread, honey, and water ; and 
he lived upward of eighty years. Matthew (St. Mat- 
ihew, I suppose he means), according to Clement, lived 
upon vegetable diet. Galen, one of the most distin- 
guished of the ancient physicians, lived one hundred and 
forty years, and composed between seven and eight 
hundred essays on medical and philosophical subjects ; 
and he was always, after the age of twenty-eight, ex- 
tremely sparing in the quantity of his food. The Cardi- 
nal de Salis, Archbishop of Seville, who lived one hun- 
dred and ten years, was invariably sparing in his diet. 
One Lawrence, an Englishman, by temperance and la- 
bor lived one hundred and forty years ; and one Kenti- 
gern, who never tasted spirits or wine, and slept on the 
ground and labored hard, died at the age of one hundred 
and eighty-five. Henry Jenkins, of Yorkshire, who died 
at the age of one hundred and sixty-nine, was a poor 
fisherman, as long as he could follow this pursuit ; and 
ultimately he became a beggar, living on the coarsest 
and most sparing diet. Old Parr, who died at the age 
of one hundred and fifty-three, w^s a farmer, of ex- 
tremely abstemious habits, his diet being solely milk, 


cheese, coarse bread, small beer, and whey. At the ag* — 
of one hundred and twenty he married a second wifi^s 
by whom he had a child. But being taken to court, as ^ 
great curiosity, in his one hundred and fifty-second year, 
he very soon died — as the physicians decidedly testified^ 
after dissection, in consequence of a change from a par- 
simonious to a plentiful diet. Henry Francisco, of this 
country, who lived to about one hundred and forty, was, 
except for a certain period, remarkably abstemious, eat- 
ing but little, and particularly abstaining almost entirely 
from animal food ; his favorite articles being tea, bread 
and butter, and baked apples. Mr. Ephraim Pratt, of 
Shutesbury, Mass., who died at the age of one hundred 
and seventeen years, lived very much upon milk, and 
that in small quantity ; and his son, Michael Pratt, at- 
tained to the age of one hundred and three, by similar 

Speaking, in another place, of a milk diet. Professor H. 
observes, that "a diet chiefly of milk produces a most 
happy serenity, vigor, and cheerfulness of mind — very 
different from the gloomy, crabbed, and irritable tem- 
per, and foggy intellect, of the man who devours flesh, 
fish, and fowl, with ravenous appetite, and adds pud- 
dings, pies, and cakes to the load." ^ 


Henry Home, otherwise called Lord Kaims, the au- 
thor of the " Elements of Criticism," and of " Six Sketch- 
es on the History of Man," has, in the latter work, writ- 
ten eighty years ago, the following statements respecting 
the inhabitants of the torrid zone : 

** We have no evidence that either the hunter or shep- 
herd state were ever known there. The inhabitants at 

DR. DICK. 187 

t^^esent subsist upon vegetable food, and probably did so 
from the beginning." 

In speaking of particular nations or tribes of this zone, 
he tells us that '* the inhabitants of Bileduigerid and the 
desert of Sahara, have but two meals a day — one in the 
morning and one in the evening ;** and " being temper- 
ate,*? he adds, •* and strangers to the diseases of luxury 
and idleness, they generally live to a great age."* Six- 
ty, with them, is the prime of life, as thirty is in Europe. 
** Some of the inland tribes of Africa,*' he says, " make 
but one meal a day, which is in the evening." And yet 
** their diet is plain, consisting mostly of rice, fruits, and 
roots. An inhabitant of Madagascar will travel two or 
three days without any other food than a sugar-cane." 
So also, he might have added, will the Arab travel 
many days, and at almost incredible speed, with nothing 
but a little gum-arabic ; and the Peruvians and other 
inhabitants of South America, with a little parched corn. 
But I have one more extract from Lord Kaims : 

"The island of Otaheite is healthy, the people tall and 
well made ; and by temperance — vegetables and fish 
bein]g their chief nourishment — they live to a good old 
age, with scarcely an ailment. There is no such thing 
known among them as rotten teeth ; the very smell of 
wine or spirits is disagreeable ; and they never deal in 
tobacco or spiceries. In many places Indian corn is the 
chief nourishment, which every man plants for himself." 


Dr. Dick, author of the "Philosophy of Religion," and 

* Instances, he says, are not rare (but this I doubt), of two hundred 
children bom to a man by his different wives, in some parts of the lnte> 
rior of Africa. 


several oilier works deservedly popular, gives this re 
markable testimony : 

" To Inke the life of any sensitive being, and to feed oi 
its flesh, appears incompatible with a state of innoceni 
and therefore no such grant was given to Adam in par- 
adise, nor to the antediluvians. It appears to have been 
a grant suited only to the degraded state of man, after 
the deluge; and it is probable that, as he advances la 
tjie scale of moral perfection in the future ages of the 
world, the use of animal food will be gradually laid 
aside, and he will return again to the productions of the 
vegetable kingdom, as the original food of man — as that 
which is best suited to the rank of rational and moral 
intelligence. And perhaps it may have an influence, in 
combination with other favorable circumstances, in pro- 
moting health and longevity." 


Professor Bush, a writer of some eminence, in his 
** Notes on Genesis" while speaking of the permission to 
man in regard to food, in Genesis i. 29, has the following 
language : 

"It is not perhaps to be understood, from the use of 
the word give, that a permission was now granted to 
man of using that for food which it would have been 
unlawful for him to use without that permission; for, by 
the very constitution of his being, he was made to be 
sustained by that food which was most congenial to his 
anirpal economy ; and this it must have been lawful for 
him to employ, unless self-destruction had been his duty. 
The true import of the phrase, therefore, doubtless is, 
that God had appointed, constituted, ordained this, as the 
staple article of man's diet. Ho had formed him with a 


'^^ture to which a vegetable ahment wus better suited 
^han any other. It cannot perhaps be inferred from this 
Unguage that the use of flesh-meat was absolutely for- 
bidden ; but it clearly implies that the fruits of the field 
were the diet most adapted to the constitution which the 
Creator had given." 


Mr. Shillitoe was a distinguished member of the So- 
ciety of Friends, at Tottenham, near London. The first 
twenty-five years of his life were spent in feeble health, 
made worse by high living. This high living was con- 
tinued about twenty years longer, when, finding himself 
fast failing, he yielded to the advice of a medical friend, 
and abandoned all drinks but water, and all food but the 
plainest kinds, by which means he so restored his con- 
stitution that he lived to be nearly ninety years of age; 
and at eighty could walk with ease from Tottenham to 
London, six miles, and back again. The following is a 
brief account of this distinguished man, when at the age 
of eighty, and nearly in his own words : 

*' It is now nearly thirty years since I ate fish, flesh, 
or fowl, or took fermented liquor of any kind whatso- 
ever. I find, from continued experience, that abstinence 
is the best medicine. I don't meddle with fermented 
liquors of any kind, even as medicine. I find I am ca- 
pable of doing better without them than when I was in 
the daily use of them. 

"One way in which I was favored to experience help 
in my willingness to abandon all these things, arose from 
the eflfect my abstinence had on my natural temper. My 
natural disposition is very irritable. I am persuaded 
that ardent spirits and high living have more or less ef- 


feet in tending to raise into action those evil propensBt 
ties which, if given way to, war against the soul, an^o' 
render us displeasing to Almighty Grod.** 


Pope, the poet, ascribes all the bad passions and dis- 
eases of the human race to their subsisting on the flesh, 
blood, and miseries of animals. *' Nothing," he says, 
•'can be more shocking and horrid than one of our 
kitchens, sprinkled with blood, and abounding with the 
cries of creatures expiring, or with the limbs of dead 
animals scattered or hung up here and there. It gives 
one an image of a giant's den in romance, bestrewed 
with the scattered heads and mangled limbs of those 
who were slain by his cruelty." 


Sir Richard Phillips, in his " Million of Facts," says 
that ** the mixed and fanciful diet of man is considered 
as the cause of numerous diseases, from which animals 
are exempt. Many diseases have abated with changes 
of natural diet, and others are virulent in particular 
countries, arising from peculiarities. The Hindoos are 
considered the freest from disease of any part of the hu- 
man race. The laborers on the African coast, who go 
from tribe to tribe to perform the manual labor, and 
whose strength is wonderful, live entirely on plain rice. 
The Irish, Swiss, and Gascons, the slaves of Europe, 
feed also on the simplest diet ; the former chiefly on po- 

He states, also, that the diseases of cattle often afflict 
those who subsist on them. " In 1599," he observes, "the 
Venetian government, to stop a fatal disease among the 


V^ple, prohibited the sale of meat, butter, or cheese, on 
pain of death." 


This distinguished philosopher and mathematician is 
said to have abstained rigorously, at times, from all but 
purely vegetable food, and from all drinks but water ; 
and it is also stated that some of his important labors 
were performed at these seasons of strict temperance. 
While writing his treatise on Optics, it is said he con- 
fined himself entirely to bread, with a little sack and 
water ; and I have no doubt that his remarkable equa- 
nimity of temper, and that government of his animal ap- 
petites, throughout, for which he was so distinguished to 
the last hour of his life, were owing, in no small degree, 
to his habits of rigid temperance. 


The Abb6 Gallani ascribes all social crimes to animal 
destruction — thus, treachery to angling and ensnaring, 
and murder to hunting and shooting. And he asserts 
that the man who would kill a sheep, an ox, or any un- 
suspecting animal, would, but for the law, kill his neigh- 


Even Homer, three thousand years ago, says Dr. 
Cheyne, could observe that the Homolgians — those 
Pythagoreans, those milk and vegetable eaters — were 
the longest lived and the honestest of men. 


Dr. Franklin, in his younger days, often, for some 
time together, lived exclusively on a vegetable diet, and 


that, too, in small quantity. During his after life he also 
observed seasons of abstinence from animal food, or 
lentSy as he called them, of considerable length. His 
food and drink were, moreover, especially in early life, 
exceedingly simple ; his meal often consisting of nothing 
but a biscuit and a slice of bread, with a bunch of rai- 
sins, and perhaps a basin of gruel. Now, Dr. F. testi- 
fies of himselti that he found his progress in science to 
be in proportion to that clearness of mind and aptitude 
of conception which can only be produced by total ab- 
stinence from animal food. He also derived many other 
advantages from his abstinence, both physical and moral. 


This author wrote a work entitled "Defence of Vege- 
table Regimen." It is often quoted by Shelley, the poet, 
and others. I know nothing of the author or of his 
works, except through Shelley, who gives us some of his 
views, and informs us that seventeen persons, of all ages, 
consisting of Mr. NewtonS family and the family of Dr. 
Lambe, who is elsewhere mentioned in this work, had, 
at the time he wrote, lived seven years on a pure vege- 
table diet, and without the slightest illness. Of the sev- 
enteen, some of them were infants, and one of them 
was almost dead with asthma when the experiment was 
commenced, but was already nearly cured by it ; and 
of the family of Mr. N., Shelley testifies that they were 
** the most beautiful and healthy creatures it is possible 
to conceive" — the girls *• perfect models for a sculptor" — 
and their dispositions " the most gentle and conciliating." 

The following paranrraph is extracted from Mr. New- 
ton's "Defence," and will give us an idea of his senti- 
ments. He was speaking of the fahlc of Prometheus : 

O. S. FOWLBft. 193 

^ Making allowance for such transposition of the 
events of the allegory as time might produce after the 
important truths were forgotten, the drift of the fable 
seems to be this : Man, at his creation, was endowed 
with tlie gift of perpetual youth ; that is, he was not 
formed to be a sickly, suffering creature, as we now see 
bim, but to enjoy health, and to sink by slow degrees 
into the bosom of his parent earth, without disease or 
pain. Prometheus first taught the use of animal food, 
and of fire, with which to render it more digestible and 
pleasing to the taste. Jupiter acid the rest of the gods, 
foreseeing the consequences of these inventions, were 
amused or irritated at the short-sighted devices of the 
newly-formed creature, and left him to experience the 
sad effects of them. Thirst, the necessary concomitant 
of a flesh diet, ensued ; other drink than water was re- 
sorted to, and man forfeited the inestimable gift of health, 
wliich he had received from heaven; he became dis- 
eased, the partaker of a precarious existence, and no 
longer descended into his grave slowly." 


O. S. Fowler, the distinguished phrenologist, in his 
work on Physiology, devotes nearly one hundred pages 
to the discussion of the great diet question. He endea- 
vors to show that, in every point of view, a flesh diet — 
or a diet partaking of flesh, fish, or fowl, in any degree — 
is inferior to a well-selected vegetable diet; and, as I 
think, successfully. He finally says : 

" I wish my own children had never tasted, and would 
never taste, a mouthful of meat. Increased health, effi- 
ciency, talents, virtue, and happiness, would undoubted- 
ly be the result. But for the fact that my table is set 


for Others than my own wife and children, it would 
never be furnished with meat, so strong are my convic- 
tions against its utility." 

I believe that L. N. Fowler, the brother and associate 
of ihe former, is of the same opinion ; but my acquaint- 
ance with him is very limited. Both the Fowlers, with 
Mr. Wells, their associate in book-selling, seen: anxious- 
ly engaged in circulating books which involve the dis- 
'cussion of this great question. 


Mr. Johnston, who for some fifteen or twenty years 
has been an American missionary in different foreign 
places — Trebizond, Smyrna, etc. — is, from conviction, a 
vegetable eater. The author holds in his possession 
several letters from this gentleman, on the subject of 
health, from which, but for want of room, he would be 
glad to make numerous extracts. He once sent, or 
caused to be sent, to him, at Trebizond, a barrel of 
choice American apples, for which the missionary, amid 
numerous Eastern luxuries, was almost starving. Hap- 
py would it be for many other American and British 
missionaries, if they had the same simple taste and natu- 
ral appetite. 


This young man has been for eight or ten years in the 
employ of the Baptist Foreign Missionary Board, and is 
located at Bangkok, in Siam. For several years before 
he left this country he was a vegetable eater, sometimes 
subsisting on mere fruit for one or two of his daily meals. 
And yet, as a mechanic, his labor was hard — sometimes 


Smce he has been in Siam he hns continued his re- 
formed hnbits, as appears from his letters and from re- 
ports. The hist letter I had from him was dated June 
10, 1847. The following arc extracts from it : 

" 1 experienced the same trials (that is, froin others) 
on my arrival in Burmah, in regard to vegetable diet, 
that I did in the United States. This I did not expect, 
and was not prepared for it. Through the blessing of 
God we were enabled to endure, and have persevered 
until now. 

** Myself and wife are more deeply convinced than 
ever that vegetable diet is the best adapted to sustain 
health. I cannot say that we have been much more free 
from sickness than our associates ; but one thing we can 
say — we have been equally well off, and our expenses 
have been much less/' 

After going on to say how much his family — himself 
and wife — saved by their plain living, viz., an average 
of about one dollar a week, he makes additional remarks, 
of which I will only quote the following : 

•* My labors, being mostly mechanical, are far more 
fatiguing than those of my brethren ; and I do not think 
any of them- could endure a greater amount of labor than 
I do." 

It deserves to be noticed, in this connection, that Mr. 
Chandler has slender muscles, and would by no means 
be expected to accomplish as much as many men of 
greater vigor ; and yet we have reason to believe that 
he performs as much ^abor as any man in the service of 
the board. 


Mr. Caswell went out to India about thirteen years 


ago, a dyspeptic, and yet perhaps somewhat better than 
while engaged in his studies at Andovcr. For several 
years after his arrival he suffered much from sickness, 
like his fellow-laborers. His station was Bangkok. He 
was an American missionary, sent out by the American 
Board, as it is called, of Boston. 

About six years ago he wrote me for information on 
the subject of health. He had read my works, and those 
of Mr. Graham, and seemed not only convinced of the 
general importance of studying the science of human 
life, but of the superiority of a well selected vegetable 
diet, especially at the East. He was also greatly anx- 
ious that missionaries should be early taught what he 
had himself learned. The following is one of his first 
paragraphs : 

" I feel fully convinced that you are engaged in a work 
second to few if any of the great enterprises of the day. 
If there be any class of men standing in special need of 
correct physiological knowledge, that class consists of 
missionaries of the cross. What havoc has disease 
made with this class, and for the most part, as I feel 
convinced, because, before and after leaving their native 
land, they live so utterly at variance with the laws of 
their nature." 

He then proceeds to say, that the American mission- 
aries copy the example of the English, and that they all 
eat loo much high-seasoned food, and too much flesh and 
fish ; and argues against the practice by adducing facts. 
The following is one of them : 

" My Siamese teacher, a man about forty years old, 

says that those who live simply on rice, with a little salt. 

enjoy better health, and can endure a greater amount of 

labor, than those w\\o Vive m atvv ovWt v^^n. * * ♦ 


The great body of the Siamese use no flesh, except fish. 
Of this they generally eat a very little^ with their rice." 

The next year I had another letter from him. He 
had been sick, but was better, and thought he had learned 
a great deal, during his sickness, about the best means 
of preserving health. He had now fully adopted what 
be chose to call the Graham system, and was rejoicing 
— he and his wife and children — in its benefits. He 
says, " If a voice from an obscure corner of the earth 
can do any thing toward encouraging your heart and 
staying your hands, that voice you shall have." He 
suggests the propriety of my sending him a copy of 
"Vegetable Diet." "I think," says he, "it might do 
great good." He wished to lend it among his friends. 

It must suffice to say, that he continued to write me, 
once or twice a year, as long as he lived. He also insisted 
strongly on the importance of physiological information 
among students preparing for the ministry, and especi- 
ally for missions. He even wrote once or twice to Rev. 
Dr. Anderson, and solicited attention to the subject. 
But the board would neither hear to him nor to me, 
except to speak kind words, for nothing effective was 
ever done. They even refused a well-written communi- 
cation on the subject, intended for the Missionary Her- 
ald. Let me also say, that as early as March, 1845, he 
told me that Dr. Bradley, his associate (now in this 
country), with his family, were beginning to live on the 
vegetable system ; and added, that one of the sisters of 
the mission, who was no " Grahamite," had told him she 
thought there was not one third as much flesh used in 
all the mission families that there was a year before. 

Mr. Caswell became exceedingly efficient, over-exert- 
ed himself in completing a vocabulary of U\e Siamese 


language, and in other labors, and died in September 
last He was, according to the testimony of Dr. Brad- 
ley, a *' noble man;^ and probably his life and health, and 
that of his family, were prolonged many years by his 
improved habits. But his early transgressions — like those 
of thousands — at length found him ouL I allude to his 
errors in regard to exercise, eating, drinking, sleeping, 
taking medicine, etc. 


This individual has represented the town of Marble- 
head, Mass., in the state legislature, and is a man of re- 
spectability. He is now, says the " Lynn Washingto- 
nian,** above forty years of age, a strong, healthy man, 
and, to use his own language, " has neither ache nor 
pain.** For the ten years next preceding our Inst ac- 
count from him he had lived on a simple vegetable diet, 
condemning to slaughter no flocks or herds that " range 
the valley free," but leaving ihem lo their native, joyous 
hill-sides and mountains. Bui Mr. Chinn, not contented 
with abstinence from animal food, goes nearly the full 
length of Dr. Schlemmer and his sect, and abjures cook- 
ery. For four years he subsisted — we believe he does 
so now — on nothing but unground wheat and fruit. His 
breakfast, it is said, he uniformly makes of fruit ; his 
other two meals of unground wheat ; patronizing neither 
millers nor cooks. A few years since, being appointed 
a delegate to a convention in Worcester, fifty-eight miles 
distant, he filled his pocket with wheat, walked there 
during the day, attended the convention, and the next 
day walked home again, with comparative ease. 


This venerable man — Jolham Sew;A\, o^ M^vwe, as he 


Styles himself, one of the fathers of that state — is now 
about ninety years of age, and yet is, what lie has long 
been, an active home missionary. He is a man of giant 
size and venerable appeardnce, of a green old age, and 
remarkably healthy. He is an early riser, a man of 
great cheerfulness, and of the most simple habits. He 
has abstained from tea and coffee — poisonous things, as 
he calls them — forty-seven years. His only drinks are 
water and sage tea. These, with bread, milk, and fruits, 
and perhaps a little salt, are the only things that enter 
his stomach. How long he has abstained from flesh and 
fish I have not learned, but I believe some thirty or forty 

Such is the appearance of this venerable man, that no 
one is surprised to find in him those gigantic powers of 
mind, and that readiness^ to give wise counsel on every 
important occasion, for which he has so long been dis- 
tinguished. It has sometimes seemed to me that no one 
would doubt the efficacy of a well-selected vegetable 
diet to give strength^ mental or bodily, who had known 
Father SewalL 


An Italian, who died in the beginning of the eighteenth 
century, abjured cookery at the age of forty years, and 
confined himself chiefly to fruits, grains, and water. He 
never allowed himself a bed, but slept on a kind of set- 
tee, wrapped in a long morning gown, which served him 
for blanket and clothing the year round. 

I would not be understood as encouraging the anti- 
cookery system of Dr.Schlemmer and Magliabecehi ; but 
it is interesting to know what can he done. Magliabec- 
ehi lived to the age of from eighty lo oueWtidted^eigLT*. 



These two distinguished men were essentially vege- 
table eaters. Of the habits of Oberlin, the venerable 
pastor and father of Waldbach, I am not able to speak, 
however, with so much certainty as of those of Swartz. 
His income, during the early part of his residence in 
India, was only forty-eight pounds a year, which, being 
estimated by its ability to procure supplies for his ne- 
cessities, was only equal to about one hundred dollars. 
He not only accepted of very narrow quarters, but ate, 
drank, and dressed, in the plainest manner. ''A dish of 
rice and vegetables," says his biographer, " satisfied his 
appetite for food." 


Much has been said of the dietetic habits of the Insh, 
of late years, especially of their potato. Now, we h«nve 
abundant facts which go to prove that good potatoes 
form a wholesome aliment, equal, if not superior, to 
many forms of European and American diet. Yet it 
cannot be that a diet consisting wholly of potatoes is as 
well for the race as one partaking of greater variety. 

Mr. Gamble, a traveler in Ireland, in his work on 
Irish "Society and Manners," gives the following state- 
ment of an old friend of his, whom he visited : 

" He was upward of eighty years when I had last seen 
him, and he was now in his ninety-fourth year. He 
found the old gentleman seated on a kind of rustic seat, 
in the garden, by the side of some bee-hives. He was 
asleep. On his waking I was astonished to see the little 
change time had wrought on him ; a little more stoop in 
his s/iouJders, a wrinkle mote, pexW^^/vcvVvv^fex^Vv^ad^ 


a more perfect whiteness of bis hair, was all the differ- 
ence since I had seen him last. Flesh meat in my ven- 
erable friend's bouse was an article never to be met 
with. For sixty years past he hcui not tasted it, nor did 
he by any means like to see it taken by others. His 
food was vegetables, bread, milk, butter, and honey. 
His whole life was a series of benevolent actions, and 
Providence rewarded him, even here, by a peace of 
mind which passeth all understanding, by a judgment 
vigorous and unclouded, and by a length of days beyond 
the common course of men." 

James Haughton, I believe of Dublin — a correspond- 
ent of Henry C. Wright, of Philadelphia, who is himself 
in theory a vegetable eater — has, for some time past, 
rejected flesh, and pursued a simple course of living, as 
he says, with great advantage. I have been both 
amused and instructed by his letters. 

I have met with several Irish people of intelligence 
who were vegetable eaters, but their names are not now 
recollected. They have not, however, in any instance, 
confined themselves to potatoes. One of the most dis- 
tinguished of these was a female laborer in the family of 
a merchant at Barnstable. She was, from choice, a 
very rigid vegetable eater ; and yet no person in the 
whole neighborhood was more efficient as a laborer. 
Those who know her, and are in the habit of thinking 
no person can work hard without flesh and fish, often 
express their astonishment that she should be able to live 
so simply and yet perform so much labor. 


John Bailies, of England, who reached the great age 
of one hundred and twenty-eight, is said to have been a 


Strict vegetarian. His food, for the most part, consisted 
of brown bread and cheese ; and his drink of water and 
milk. He had survived the whole town of Northamp- 
ton (as he was wont to say), where he resided, three or 
four times over ; and it was his custom to say that they 
were all killed by tea and coffee. Flesh meat at that 
time had not come into suspicion, otherwise he would 
doubtless have attributed part of the evil to this agency. 


This gentleman was a Sardinian ecclesiastic, at the 
first; afterward a merchant atScio; and finally Venetian 
consul at Smyrna. Much has been said of Lewis Cor- 
naro, who, having broken down his constitution at the 
age of forty, renewed it by his temperance, and lasted 
unto nearly the age of a century. His story is interest- 
ing and instructive ; but little more so than that of Hu- 

His habits were all remarkable for simplicity and 
truth, except one. He was greatly licentious ; and his 
licentiousness, at the age of eighty-five, had nearly car- 
ried him off. Yet such was the mildness of his temper, 
and so correct was he in regard to exercise, rest, rising, 
eating, drinking, etc., that he lived on, to the great age 
of one hundred and fifteen years, and then died, not of 
old age, but of disease. 

Hupazoli did not entirely abstain from flesh ; and yet 
he used very little, and that was wild game. His living 
was chiefly on fruits. Indeed, he ate but little at any 
time ; and his supper was particularly light. His drink 
was water. He never took any medicine in his whole 
life, not even tobacco ; nor was he so much as ever bled. 
In fact, till late in life, he waa tve^v^x a\ck. 



This young woman, a resident of Hallo well, in Maine, 
and somewhat distinguished as a poet, is, from her own 
conviction and choice both, a vegetable eater. Her 
story, which I had from her friends, is substantially as 
follows : 

Whep about eleven years of age she suddenly changed 
her habits of eating, and steadfastly refused, at the table, 
all kinds of food which partook of flesh and fish. The 
family were alarmed, and afraid she was ill. When 
they made inquiry concerning it, she hesitated to assign 
the reasons for her conduct; but, on being pressed 
closely, she confessed that she abstained for conscience' 
eake ; that she had become fully convinced, from read- 
ing and reflection, that she ought not to eat animal food. 

It was in vain that the family and neighbors remon- 
strated with her, and endeavored, in various ways, to 
induce her to vary from her purpose. She continued 
to use no fowl, flesh, or fish ; and in this habit she con- 
tinues, as I believe, to this day, a. period of some twelve 
or fifteen years. 


John Whitcomb, of Swansey, N. H., at the age of one 
hundred and four was in possession of sound mind and 
memory, and had a fresh countenance ; and so good was 
his health, that he rose and bathed himself in cold water 
even in mid-winter. His wounds, moreover, would 
heal like those of a child. And yet this man, for eighty 
years, refused to drink any thing but water ; and for 
thirty years, at the close of life, confined himself chiefly 
to bread and milk as his diet. 



It is sometimes said that animal food is indispensably 
necessary in the polar regions. We have seen, however, 
in the testimony of Professor Sweetser, that this view 
of the case is hardly correct. But we have positive tes- 
timony on this subject from Capt. Ross himself. 

This navigator, with his company, spent the winter 
of 1830-31 above 70® of north latitude, without beds, 
clothing (that is, extra clothing), or animal food, and 
with no evidence of any suffering from the mere disuse 
of flesh and fish. 


This individual, who died at Whitehall, N. Y., in the 
year 1820, at the age of one hundred and twenty-five 
years, was, during the latter part of his life, quite a Gra- 
hamite, as the moderns would call him. His favorite 
articles of food were tea, bread and butter, and baked 
apples ; and he was even abstemious in the use of these. 


Professor Adam Ferguson, an individual not unknown 
in the literary world, was, till he was fifty years of age, 
regarded as quite healthy. Brought up in fashionable 
society, he was very often invited to fashionable dinners 
and parties, at which he ate heartily and drank wine — 
sometimes several bottles. Indeed, he habitually ate 
and drank freely ; and, as he had by nature a very 
strong constitution, he thought nothing which he ate or 
drank injured him. 

Things went on in this manner, as I have already in- 
timated, till he was iifiy year* of age. One day, about 


this time, having made a long journey in the cold, he 
returned very much fatigued, and in this condition went 
to dine with a party, where he ate and drank in his 
usual manner. Soon after dinner, he was seized with a 
fit of apoplexy, followed by palsy ; but by bleeding, 
and other energetic measures, he was partially restored. 

He was now, by the direction of his physician, put 
upon what was called a low diet. It consisted of vege- 
table food and milk. For nearly forty years he tasted 
no meat, drank nothing but water and a little weak ten, 
and took no suppers. If he ventured, at any time, upon 
more stimulating food or drink, he soon had a full pulse, 
and !^ot, restless nights. His bowels, however, seemed 
to be much affected by the fit of palsy ; and not being 
inclined, so far as I can learn, to the use of fruit and 
coarse bread, he was sometimes compelled to use laxn- 

When he was about seventy years of age, however, 
all his paralytic symptoms had disappeared ; and his 
health was so excellent, for a person of his years, ns to 
excite universal admiration. This continued till he was 
nearly ninety. His mind, up to this time, was almost 
as entire as in his younger days; none of his bodily 
functions, except his sight, were much impaired. So 
perfect, indeed, was the condition of his physical frame, 
that nobody, who had not known his history, would 
have suspected he had ever been apoplectic or para- 

When about ninety years of age, his health began 
slightly to decline. A little before his death, he began 
to take a little meat. This, however, did not save him 
— ^nature being fairly worn out. On the contrary, it 
probably hastened his dissolution. His bowels became 


irregular, his pulse increased, and he fell into a bilious 
fever, of which he died at the great age of ninety-three. 

Probably there are, on record, few cases of longev- 
ity more instructive than this. Besides showing the 
evil tendency of living at the expense of life, it also 
shows, in a most striking manner, the effects of simple 
and unstimulating food and drink, even in old age ; and 
the danger of recurring to the use of that which is more 
stimulating in very advanced life. In this last respect, 
it confirms the experience of Cornaro, who was made 
sick by attempting, in his old age, and at the solicita- 
tion of kind friends, to return to the use of a more stim- 
ulathig diet ; and of Parr, who was destroyed in the 
same way, after having attained to more than a hun- 
dred and fifty years. 

But the fact that living at the expense of life, cuts 
down, here and there, in the prime of life, or even at 
the age of fifty, a few individuals, though this of itself 
is no trivial evil, is not all. Half of what we call the 
infirmities of old age — and thus charge them upon Him 
who made the human frame subject to age — have their 
origin in the same source ; I mean in this living too 
fast, and exhausting prematurely the vital powers. 
When will the sons of men learn wisdom in this mat- 
ter? Never, I fear, till they are taught, as commonly 
as they now are reading and writing, the principles of 


Although individual cases of abstinence from animal 
food prove but little, yet they prove something in the 
case of a man so remarkable as John Howard. If he, 
xvith n constitution not very strong, and in the midst of 


the gieatesl fatigues of body and mind, could best sus- 
tain himself on a bread and water, or bread and tea 
diet, who is there that would not be well sustained on 
vegetable food? And yet it is certain that Howard 
was a vegetable eater for many years of the latter part 
of his life ; and that had he not exposed himself in a re- 
markable manner, there is no known reason why he 
might not have lasted with a constitution no better than 
his was, to a hundred years of age. 


The following extract exhibits in few words, the 
dietetic history of that brave and wise commander. 
General George Augustus Elliott, of the British army : 

** During the whole of his active life, Gen. Elliott had 
inured himself to the most rigid habits of order and 
watchfulness; seldom sleeping more than four hours a 
day, and never eating any thing but vegetable food, or 
drinking any thing but water. During eight of the 
most anxious days of the memorable siege of Gibraltar, 
he confined himself to four ounces of rice a day. He 
was universally regarded as one of the most abstemious 
men of his age. 

''And yet his abstemiousness did not diminish his 
vigor ; for, at the above-mentioned siege of Gibraltar, 
when he was sixty-six years of age, he had nearly all 
the activity and fire of his youth. Nor did he die of 
any wasting disease, such as full feeders are wont to 
say men bring upon them by their abstinence. On the 
contrary, owing to a hereditary tendency, perhaps, of 
his family, he died at the age of seventy-three, of apo- 



The following testimony is from the Encyclopedia. 
I do not suppose the writer was the friend of a diet ex- 
clusively vegetable; but his testimony is therefore the 
more interesting. His only serious mistake is in regard 
to the tendency of vegetable food to form weak fibres. 

** Sometimes a particular kind of food is called whole- 
some, because it produces a beneficial effect of a par- 
ticular character on the system of an individual. In 
this case, however, it is to be considered as a medicine; 
and can be called wholesome only for those whose sys- 
tems are in the same condition. 

"Aliments abounding in fat are unwholesome, be- 
cause fat resists the operation of the gastric juice. 

" The addition of too much spice makes many an in- 
nocent aliment injurious, because spices resist the ac- 
tion of the digestive organs, and produce an irritation 
of particular parts of the system. 

**The kind of aliment influences the health, and even 
the character of man. He is fitted to derive nourish- 
ment both from animal and vegetable aliment; but can 
live exclusively on either. 

"Experience proves that animal food most readily 
augments the solid parts of the blood, the fibrine, and 
therefore the strength of the muscular system ; but dis- 
poses the body, at the same time, to inflammatory, pu- 
trid, and scorbutic diseases ; and the character to vio- 
lence and coarseness. On the contrary, vegetable food 
renders the blood lighter and more liquid, but forms 
weak fibres, disposes the system to the diseases which 
spring from feebleness, and tends to produce a gentle 


** Something of the same difference of moral effect 
results from the use of strong or light wines. But the 
reader must not infer that meat is indispensable. for tiie 
support of the bodily strength. The peasants of some 
parts of Switzerland, who hardly ever taste any thing 
but bread, cheese, and butter, are vigorous people. 

**The nations of the north are inclined, generally, 
more to animal aliment ; those of the south and the Ori- 
entals, more to vegetable. The latter are generally 
more simple in their diet than the former, when their 
taste has not been corrupted by luxurious indulgence. 
Some tribes in the East, and the caste of Bramins in 
India, live entirely on vegetable food." 


Mr. Thomas Bell, Fellow of the Royal Society, Mem- 
ber of the Royal College of Surgeons in London, Lec- 
turer on the Anatomy and Diseases of the Teeth, at 
Guy's Hospital, and Surgeon Dentist to that institution, 
in his physiological observations on the natural food of 
man, deduced from the character of the teeth, says, 
•* The opinion which I venture to give, has not been 
hastily formed, nor without what appeared to me suffi- 
cient grounds. It is not, I think, going too far to say, 
that every fact connected with human organization 
goes to prove that "nan was originally formed a fru- 
giverous (fruit-eating) animal, and therefore, probably, 
tropical or nearly so, with regard to his geographical 
situation. This ophiion is principally derived from the 
formation of his teeth and digestive organs, as well as 
from the character of his skin and general structure of 
his limbs." 



Linnaeus, in speaking of fruits and esculent vegeta- 
bles, says — ** This species of food is that which is most 
suitable to man, as is evinced by the structure of the 
mouth, of the stomach, and of the hands." 


The following are the views of that eccentric, though 
in many respects sensible writer, Shelley, as presented 
in a note to his work, called Queen Mab. I have some- 
what abridged them, not solely to escape part of hig 
monstrous religious sentiments, but for other reasons. 
I have endeavored, however, to preserve, undisturbed, 
his opinions and reasonings, which I hope will make a 
deep and abiding impression : 

'*The depravity of the physical and moral nature of 
man, originated in his unnatural habits of life. The 
language spoken by the mythology of nearly all reli- 
gions seems to prove that, at some distant period, man 
forsook the path of nature, and sacrificed the purity and 
happiness of his being to unnatural appetites. Milton 
makes Raphael thus exhibit to Adam the consequence 
of his disobedience : 

Immediately, a place 

Before his eyes appeared ; and, noisome, dark, 
A lazar-house it seemed ; wherein were laid 
Numbers of ait diseased ; all maladies 
Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms 
Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds. 
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs. 
Intestine stone and ulcer, colic pangs. 
Demoniac frenzy, moping melancholy. 
And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy, 
Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence, 
Dropsies and aslbmas, aud jo\uVtb,cVl\\:i^ t\ic£vitea? 


*'The fable of Prometheus, too, is explained in a man- 
ner somewhat similar. Before the time of Prometheus, 
According to Hesiod, mankind were exempt from suffer- 
ing; they enjoyed a vigorous youth; and death, when 
St length it came, approached like sleep, and gently 
closed the eyes. Prometheus (who represents the hu- 
ttian race) effected some great change in the condition 
of his nature, and applied fire to culinary purposes. 
Prom this moment his vitals were devoured by the vul- 
ture of disease. It consumed his being in every shape 
of its loathsome and infinite variety, inducing the soul- 
quelling sinkings of premature and violent death. All 
vice arose from the ruin of healthful innocence. 

** Man, and the animals which he has infected with 
his society, or depraved by his dominion, are alone dis- 
eased. The wild hog, the bison, and the wolf are per- 
fectly exempt from malady, and invariably die, either 
fvom external violence or natural old age. But the do- 
mestic hog, the sheep, the cow, and the dog are subject 
to an incredible number of distempers, and, like the cor- 
rupters of their nature, have physicians, who thrive 
upon their miseries. 

"The supereminence of man is like Satan's super- 
eminence of pain, — and the majority of his species, 
doomed to penury, disease, and crime, have reason to 
curse the untoward event, that, by enabling him to 
communicate his sensations, raised him above the level 
of his fellow animals. But the steps that have been 
taken are irrevocable. 

" The whole of human science is comprised in one 
question: How can the advantages of intellect and civ- 
ilization be reconciled with the liberty and pure plea- 
sures of natural Ufe ? How can we XaVe \\\^ V^^xsrSlV^ 


and reject the evils of the system, which is now inter- 
woven with our being? I believe thai abstinence from 
animal food and spirituous liquors would, in a great 
measure, capacitate us for the solution of this important 

**It is true, that mental and bodily derangement is at- 
tributable in part to other deviations from' rectitude and 
nature than those which concern diet. The mistakes 
cherished by society respecting the connection of the 
sexes, whence the misery and diseases of celibacy, un- 
enjoying prostitution, and the premature arrival of pu- 
berty, necessarily spring; the putrid atmosphere of 
crowded cities; the exhalations of chemical processes; 
the muffling of our bodies in superfluous apparel ; the 
absurd treatment of infants ; all these, and innumerable 
othel' causes, contribute their mite to the mass of human 

"Comparative anatomy teaches us that man resembles 
frugiverous animals in every thing, and carnivorous in 
uothing; he has neither claws wherewith to seize his 
prey, nor distinct and pointed teeth to tear the living 
fibre. A mandarin of the first class, with nails two 
inches long, would probably find them, alone, inefficient 
to hold even a hare. It is only by softening and dis- 
guising dead flesh by culinary preparations that it is 
rendered susceptible of mastication and digestion, and 
that the sight of its bloody juices does not excite intol- 
erable loathing, horror, and disgust. Let the advocate 
of animal food force himself to a decisive experiment on 
its fitness, and, as Plutarch recommends, tear a living 
lamb with his teeth, and, plunging his head into its vi- 
tals, slake his thirst with the steaming blood ; when 
fresh from the Q^ed of \\OTTOT,\e\, \\\rcv \^n^\\. vo vW vt\^. 


sistible instincts of nature that would rise in judgment 
against it, and say, Nature formed me for sucli work as 
this. Then, and then only, would lie be consistent. 

"Young children evidently prefer pastry, oranges, 
apples, and other fruit, to the flesh of animals, until, by 
the gradual depravation of the digestive organs, the free 
use of vegetables has, for a time, produced serious in- 
conveniences. For a time, I say, since there never was 
an instance wherein a change from spirituous liquors 
and animal food to vegetables and pure water has failed 
ultimately to invigorate the body, by rendering its juices 
bland and consentaneous, and to restore to the mmd 
that cheerfulness and elasticity which not one in fifty 
possesses on the present system. A love of strong li- 
quor is also with difficulty taught to infants. Almost 
every one remembers the wry faces which the first glass 
of port produced. Unsophisticated instinct is invaria- 
bly unerring ; but to decide on the fitness of animal food 
from the perverted appetites which its constrained adop- 
tion produces, is to make the criminal a judge in his own 
cause; it is even worse — it is appealing to the infatua- 
ted drunkard in a question of the salubrity of brandy. 

•* Except in children, however, there remain no traces 
of that instinct which determines, in all other animals, 
what aliment is natural or otherwise ; and so perfectly 
obliterated are they in the reasoning adults of our spe- 
cies, that it has become necessary to urge considera- 
tions drawn from comparative anatomy to prove that 
we are naturally frugiverous. 

"Crime is madness. Madness is. disease. Whenever 
the cause of disease shalUbe discovered, the root, from 
which all vice and misery have so long overshadowed 
the glol^e, will be bare to the axe. All ih^ ^it^atUoiia of 

214 V£6£TABLB DIET. 

man, from that moment, may be considered as tendiug 
to the clear profit of his species. No sane mind, in a 
sane body, resolves upon a crime. It is a man of vio- 
lent passions, blood-shot eyes, and swollen veins, that 
alone can grasp the knife of murder. The system of a 
simple diet is not a reform of legislation, while the furi- 
ous passions and evil propensities of the human heart, in 
which it had its origin, are unassuaged. It strikes at the 
root of all evil, and is an experiment which may be tried 
with success, not alone by nations, but by small socie- 
ties, families, and even individuals. In no case has a 
return to a vegetable diet produced the slightest injury; 
in most it has been attended with changes undeniably 

'' Should ever a physician be born with the genius of 
Locke, he might trace all bodily and mental derange- 
ments to our unnatural habits, as clearly as that philos- 
opher has traced all knowledge to sensation. What 
prolific sources of disease are not those mineral and 
vegetable poisons, that have been introduced for its ex- 
tirpation ! How many thousands have become mur- 
derers and robbers, bigots and domestic tyrants, disso- 
lute and abandoned adventurers, from the use of fer- 
mented liquors, who, had they slaked their thirst only 
with pure water, would have lived but to diffuse the 
happiness of their own unperverted feelings ! How 
many groundless opinions and absurd institutions have 
not received a general sanction from the sottishness and 
intemperance of individuals ! 

" Who will assert that, had the populace of Paris sat- 
isfied their hunger at the ever-furnished table of vegeta- 
ble nature, they would have lent their brutal suffrage to 
the proscription-list ot "Robea^yx^vTel CowVd ^ ^^t of 


men, whose passions were not perverted by unnatural 
stimuli, look with coolness on an auto da fej Is it to 
be believed that a being of gentle feelings, rising from 
his meal of roots, would take delight in sports of blood ? 

**Was Nero a man of temperate life? Could you 
read calm health in his cheek, flushed with ungoverna- 
ble propensities of hatred for the human race? Did 
Muley Ismail's pulse beat evenly? was his skin trans- 
parent? did his eyes beam with healthfulness, and its 
invariable concomitants, cheerfulness and benignity ? 

" Though history has decided none of these questions, 
a child could not hesitate to answer in the negative. 
Surely the bile-sufiused cheek of Bonaparte, his wrin- 
kled brow, and yellow eye, the ceaseless inquietude of 
his nervous system, speak no less plainly the character 
of his unresting ambition than his murders and his vic- 
tories. It is impossible, had Bonaparte descended from 
a race of vegetable feeders, that he could have had 
either the inclination or the power to ascend the throne 
of the Bourbons. 

" The desire of tyranny could scarcely be excited in 
the individual ; the power to tyrannize would certainly 
not be delegated by a society neither frenzied by ine- 
briation nor rendered impotent and irrational by dis- 
ease. Pregnant, indeed, with inexhaustible calamity is 
the renunciation of instinct, as it concerns our physical 
nature. Arithmetic cannot enumerate, nor reason per- 
haps suspect, the multitudinous sources of disease in 
civilized life. Even common water, that apparently in- 
noxious pabulum^ when corrupted by the filth of popu- 
lous cities, is a deadly and insidious destroyer. 

"There is no disease, bodily or menial, which adop- 
tion of vegetable dki and pure walex h^^ t\oV mfaUlbly 


mitigated, wherever the experiment has been fairl 
tried. Debility is gradually converted into strength^ 
disease mto healthfulness ; madness, in all its hideous^ 
variety, from the ravings of the fettered maniac, to th^ 
unaccountable irrationalities of ill-temper, that make ok 
hell of domestic life, into a calm and considerate even^ 
ness of temper, that alone might offer a certain pledge 
of the future moral reformation of society. 

** On a natural system of diet, old age would be our 
last and our only malady ; the term of our existence 
would be protracted ; we should enjoy life, and no 
longer preclude others from the enjoyments of it ; all 
sensational delights would be infinitely more exquisite 
and perfect ; the very sense of being would then be a 
continued pleasure, such as we now feel it in some few 
and favored moments of our youth* 

"Byall that is sacred in our hopes for the human 
race, I conjure those who love happiness and truth, to 
give a fair trial to the vegetable system. Reasoning is 
surely superfluous on a subject whose merits an expe- 
rience of six months should set forever at rest. 

'^ But it is only among the enlightened and benevolent 
that so great a sacrifice of appetite and prejudice can 
be expected, even though its ultimate excellence should 
not admit of dispute. It is found easier by the short- 
sighted victims of disease, to palliate their torments, by 
medicine, than to prevent them by regimen. The vul- 
gar of all ranks 'ire invariably sensual and indocile; 
yet I cannot but feel myself persuaded, that when the 
benefits of vegetable diet are mathematically proved — 
when it is as clear, that those who live naturally are 
exempt from premature lieatli, as ihat nine is not one, 
the most sottish of mnukmd vj*\U fcel a preference to- 


ward a long and tranquil, contrasted with a short and 
painful life. 

^ On the average, out of sixty persons, four die in 
three years. Hopes are entertained, that in April, 
1814,* a statement will be given that sixty persons, ail 
having lived more than three years on vegetables and 
pure water, are then in perfect health. More than two 
years have now elapsed ; not one of them has died; no 
such example will be found in any sixty persons taken 
at random. 

** When these proofs come fairly before the world, 
and are clearly seen by all who understand arithmetic, 
it is scarcely possible that abstinence from aliments de- 
monstrably pernicious should not become universal. 

**In proportion to the number of proselytes, so will 
be the weight of evidence ; and when a thousand per- 
sons can be produced, living on vegetables and distilled 
water, who have to dread no disease but old age, the 
world will be compelled to regard animal flesh and fer- 
mented liquors as slow but certain poisons. 

**The change which would be produced by simple 
habits on political economy, is sufficiently remarkable. 
The monopolizing eater of animal flesh would no longer 
destroy his constitution by devouring an acre at a meal, 
and many loaves of bread would cease to contribute to 
gout, madness, and apoplexy, in the shape of a pint of 
porter, or a dram of gin, when appeasing the long-pro- 
tracted famine of the hard-working peasant's hungry 

"The quantity of nutritious vegetable matter, con- 
sumed in fattening the carcass of an ox, would aflbrd 

* A date bat little later than that of the work whence this article ia 



ten times the sustenance, undepraving indeed, and inca- 
pable of generating disease, if gathered immediately 
from the bosom of the earth. The most fertile districts 
of the habitable globe are now actually cultivated by 
men for animals, at a delay and waste of aliment abso- 
lutely incapable of calculation. It is only the wealthy 
that can, to any great degree, even now, indulge the 
unnatural craving for dead flesh, and they pay for the 
greater license of the privilege, by subjection to super- 
numerary diseases. 

^' Again — the spirit of the nation that should take the 
lead in this great reform would insensibly become agri- 
cultural ; commerce, with its vices, seliSshness, and cor- 
ruption, would gradually decline ; more natural habits 
would produce gentler manners, and the excessive com- 
plication of political relations would be so far simplified 
that every individual might feel and understand why he 
loved his country, and took a personal interest in its 

" On a natural system of diet, we should require no 
spices from India; no wines from Portugal, Spain, 
France, or Madeira ; none of those multitudinous arti- 
cles of luxury, for which every corner of the globe is 
rifled, and which are the cause of so much individual 
rivalship, and such calamitous and sanguinary national 

'* Let it ever be remembered, that it is the direct in- 
fluence of excess of commerce to make the interval be- 
tween the rich and the poor wider and more unconquer- 
able. Let it be remembered, that it is a foe to every 
thing of real worth and excellence in the human char- 
acter. The odious and disgusting aristocracy of wealth, 
75 b'jilt upon the ruins of aU \V\a\. \s ^ood \i\ chivalry or 



republicanism ; and luxury is the forerunner of u bar- 
barism scarce capable of cure. Is it impossible to real- 
ize a state of society, where all the energies of man 
shall be directed to the production of his solid happi- 
ness ? 

** None must be intrusted with power (and money is 
the completest species of power), who do not stand 
pledged to use it exclusively for the general benefit. 
But the use of animal flesh and fermented liquors, di- 
rectly militates with this equality of the rights of man. 
The peasant cannot gratify these fashionable cravings 
Without leaving his family to starve. Without disease 
and war, those sweeping curtailers of population, pas- 
turage would include a waste too great to be afforded. 
The labor requisite to support a family is far lighter 
than is usually supposed. The peasantry work, not 
only for themselves, but for the aristocracy, the army, 
and the manufacturers. 

"The advantage of a reform in diet is obviously 
greater than that of any other. It strikes at the root 
of the evil. To remedy the abuses of legislation, be- 
fore we annihilate the propensities by which they are 
produced, is to suppose that by taking away the effect, 
the cause will cease to operate. 

*^But the efficacy of this system depends entirely on 
the proselytism of individuals, and grounds its merits, 
as a benefit to the community, upon the total change of 
the dietetic habits in its members. It proceeds securely 
from a number of particular cases to one that is univer- 
sal, and has this advantage over the contrary mode, 
that one error does not invalidate all that has gone be- 

**Let not too much, however, be eTpetVfeA ^-twsi^^v^ 

820 VFfl -» \BLB DIET. 


system. The healthiest among us is not exempt from 
hereditary disease. The most symmetrical, athletic, 
and long-lived is a being inexpressibly inferior to what 
he would have been had not the unnatural habits of his 
ancestors accumulated for him a certain portion of mal- 
ady and deformity. In the most perfect specimen of 
civilized man, something is still found wanting by the 
physiological critic. Can a return to nature, then, in- 
stantaneously eradicate predispositions .that have been 
slowly taking root in the silence of innumerable ages? 
Indubitably not. All that I contend for is, that from 
the moment of relinquishing all unnatural habits, no new 
disease is generated; and that the predisposition to 
hereditary maladies gradually perishes for want of its 
accustomed supply. In cases of consumption, cancer, 
gout, asthma, and scrofula, such is the invariable ten- 
dency of a diet of vegetables and pure water. 

** Those who may be induced by these remarks to 
give the vegetable system a fair trial, should, in the 
first place, date the commencement of their practice 
from the moment of their conviction. All depends 
upon breaking through a pernicious habit resolutely and 
at once. Dr. Trotter asserts, that no drunkard was 
ever reformed by gradually relinquishing his dram. 
Animal flesh, in its effects on the human stomach, is 
analogous to a dram ; it is similar to the kind, though 
differing in the degree of its operation. The proselyte 
to a pure diet must be warned to expect a temporary 
diminution of muscular strength. The subtraction of a 
powerful stimulus will suffice to account for this event. 
But it is only temporary, and is succeeded by an equa- 
ble capability for exertion, far surpassing his former va- 
•*iou8 and fluctuating streng\,\\. 


^ Above all, he will acquire an easiness of breathing, 
by which such exertion is performed, with a remarkable 
exemption from that painful and difficult panting now 
felt by almost every one, after hastily climbing an ordi- 
nary mountain. He will be equally capable of bodily 
exertion or mental application, after, as before his sim- 
ple meal. He will feel none of the narcotic effects of 
ordinary diet. Irritability, the direct consequence of 
exhausting stimuli, would yield to the power of natural 
and tranquil impulses. He will no longer pine under 
the lethargy of ennui, that unconquerable weariness of 
life, more to be dreaded than death itself. 

"He will no longer be incessantly occupied in blunt- 
ing and destroying those organs from which he expects 
his gratification. The pleasures of taste to be derived 
from a dinner of potatoes, beans, peos, turnips, lettuce, 
with a dessert of apples, gooseberries, strawberries, 
currants, raspberries, and in winter, oranges, apples, 
and pears, is far greater than is supposed. Those who 
wait until they can eat this plain fare with the sauce of 
appetite, will scarcely join with the hypocritical sen- 
sualist at a lord mayor's feast, who declaims against the 
pleasures of the table." 


This gentleman, once a teacher *n Troy, N. H., now 
nearly seventy years of age, is a giant, both intellectu- 
ally and physically, like Father Sewall, of Maine. The 
following is his testimony — speaking of what he calls 
his system : 

"Such a system of living was formed by myself, irre- 
spective of Graham or Alcott, or any other modern 
dietetic philosophers and reformevs, ^\\.Vvo\y^\\ \ ^^^^ 


with them in many things. It allows but little use of 
flesh, condiments, concentrated articles, complex cook- 
ing, or hot and stimulating drinks. On the other hand, 
it requires great use of milk, the difTerent bread stufTs, 
fruits, escdent roots and pulse, all well, simply, and 
neatly cooked.'* 


The habits of this distinguished individual, though 
often adverted to, are yet not sufficiently known. For 
the last half of his long life (eighty-eight years) he was 
a thorough going vegetarian. He also testifies that 
for three or four successive years he lived entirely on 
potatoes ; and during that whole time he never relaxed 
his arduous ministerial labors, nor ever enjoyed better 


Lamartine was educated a vegetarian of the strictest 
sort — an education which certainly did not prevent his 
possessing as fine a physical frame as can be found in 
the French republic, Of his mental and moral charac- 
teristics it is needless that I should speak. True it is 
that Lamartine ate flesh and fish at one period of his 
life ; but we have the authority of Douglas Jerrold's 
London Journal for assuring our readers that he is 
again a vegetarian. 




Hie Pythagoreans.— The Easenei.— The Bramina.— Society of Bible Chriatiana.— Or- 
phan Aaylnm of Albany. — ^The Mexican Indiana. — School in Germany. — ^American 
Phyaiokigical Society. 


The following chapter did not come within the scope 
of my plan, as it was originally formed. But in prose- 
cuting the labors of preparing a volume on vegetable 
diet, it has more and more seemed to me desirable to 
add a short account of some of the communities and 
associations of men, both of ancient and modern times, 
who, amid a surrounding horde of flesh-eaters, have 
withstood the power of temptation, and proved, in some 
measure, true to their own nature, and the first impulses 
of mejcy, humanity, and charity. I shall not, of course, 
attempt to describe all the sects and societies of the 
kind to which I refer, but only a few of those which 
seem to me most important. 

One word may be necessary in explanation of the 
term communities. I mean by it, smaller communities, 
or associations. There have been, and still are, many 
whole nations which might be called vegetable-eating 
communities ; but of such it is not my purpose to speak 
at present 


Pythagoras appears to have flourished about 650 
years before Christ He was, probabV^^ ^ Tk^jAkN^ qS.\5ca 

224 . ViaSTABLE J>IBT. 

island of Samos; but a part of his education, which 
was extensive and thorough, was received in Egypt. 
He taught a new philosophy ; and, according to some, 
endeavored to enforce it by laying claim to supernatu- 
ral powers. But, be this as it may have been, he was 
certainly a man of extraordinary qualities and powers, 
as well as of great and commanding influence. In an • 
age of great luxury and licentiousness, he taught, both 
by example and precept, the most rigid doctrines of so- 
briety, temperance, and purity. * He abstained from all 
animal food, and limited himself entirely to vegetables, 
of which he usually preferred bread and honey. Nor 
did he allow the free use of every kind of vegetable ; 
for .beans, and I believe every species of pulse, were 
omitted. Water was his only drink. He lived, it is 
said, to the age of eighty ; and even then did not perish 
from disease or old age, but from starvation in a place 
where he had sought a retreat from the fury of his ene- 

His disciples are said to have been exceedingly nu- 
merous, in almost all quarters of the then known world, 
especially in Greece and Italy. It is impossible, how- 
ever, to form any conjecture of their numbers. The 
largest school or association of his rigid followers is 
supposed to have been at the city of Crotona, in South 
Italy. Their number was six hundred. They followed 
all his dietetic and philosophical rules with the utmost 
strictness. The association appears to have been, for a 
time, exceedingly flourishing. It was a society of phi- 
losophers, rather than of common citizens. ^They held 
their property in one common stock, for the benefit of 
the whole. The object of the association was chiefly 
to aid each other in promoUiig *vQX^\\^c\>aak ^vyJ^vvation. 


Pythagoras did not teach abstinence from aii hurtful 
food and drii^k, and an exclusive use of that which was 
the best, for the sole purpose of making men better, oi* 
more healthy, or longer-lived animals; he had a higher 
and nobler purpose. It was to make them better ra- 
tionals, more truly noble and godlike — worthy the natiie 
of rational men, and of the relation in which they stood 
to their common Father. And yet, after all, his doc- 
trines appear to have been mingled with much bigotry 
and superstition. 


The following account of this singular sect of the 
ancient Jews is abridged from an article in the Annals 
of Education, for July, 1836. The number of this veg- 
etable-eating sect is not known, though, according to 
Philo, there were four thousand of them in the single 
province of Judea. 

"Pliny says that the Essenes of Judea fed on the 
fruit of the palm-tree. But, however this may have 
been, it is agreed, on all hands, that, like the ancient 
Pythagoreans, they lived exclusively on vegetable food, 
and that they were abstinent in regard to the quantity 
even of this. They would not kill a living creature, 
even for sacrifices. It is also understood that they 
treated diseases of every kind — though it does not ap- 
pear that they were subject to many — with roots and 
herbs. Josephus says they were long-lived, and that 
many of them lived over a hundred years. This he at 
tributes t^ their 'regular course of life,' and especiall 
to *the simplicity of their diet.'" 



The Bramins, or Brahmins, are, as is probably well 
known, the first of the four castes among the Hindoos. 
They are the priests of the people, and are remarkable, 
in their way, for their sanctit5% Of their number I am 
not at present apprised, but it must be very great But, 
however great it may be, they are vegetable eaters of 
the strictest sect. They are not even allowed to eat 
eggs; and t believe milk and its products are also for- 
bidden them ; but of this I am not quite certain. Be- 
sides adhering to the strictest rules of temperance, they 
are also required to observe f req uent fas^ of the most 
severe kind, and to practice regular and daily, "and 
sometimes thrice daily ablutions. They subsist much 
on green herbs, roots, and fruits ; and at some periods 
of their ministry, they live much in the open air. And 
yet those of them who are true Bramins — who live up 
to the dignity of their profession — are among the most 
healthy, vigorous, and long-lived of their race. The ac- 
counts of their longevity may, in some instances, be 
exaggerated ; but it is certain that, other things being 
equal, they do not in this respect fall behind any other 
caste of their countrymen. 


This society has existed in Great Britain nearly half 
a century. They abstain from flesh, fish, and fowl — in 
short, from every thing that has animal life — and from 
all alcoholic liquors. Of their number in the kingdom I 
am not well informed. In Manchester they have three 
churches that have regular preachers ; and frequent 
meetings have been held for d\scwss\tig, vW ^\^\. ^vife^xkciTL 


Within a few years, some of which have been well at- 
tended, and all of which have been interesting. Among 
those who have adopted " the pledge" at their meetings, 
are some of the most cTistinguished men in the kingdom, 
and a few of the members of parliament. Through these 
and other instrumentalities, the question is fairly up in 
England, and will not cease to be discussed till fairly 

A branch or colony from the parent society, under 
the pastoral care of Rev. Wm. Metcalfe, consisting of 
only eight members, came in 1817 and established itself 
in Philadelphia, They were incorporated as a society 
in 1830. In 1846 the number of their church members 
was about seventy, besides thirty who adhfsred to their 
abstemious habits, but were not in full communion. 
During the thirty years ending in 1846, twelve of their 
number died — four children and eight adults. The 
average age of the latter was fifty-seven years. Of the 
seventy now belonging to the society, nineteen are be- 
tween forty and eighty years of age ; and forty, in all, 
over twenty-five. Of the whole number, twelve have 
abstained from animal food thirty-seven years, seven 
from twenty to thirty years, and fifty-one never tasted 
animal food or drank intoxicating drinks. 

And yet they are all — if we except Mr. Metcalfe, 
their minister — of the laboring class, and hard laborers, 
too. Their strength and power of endurance is fully 
equal to their neighbors in similar circumstances, and 
in several instances considerably superior. Mr. Fow- 
ler, the phrenologist, testifies, concerning one of them, 
that he is regarded as the strongest man in Philadelphia. 
I have long had acquaintance with this sect, through 
Mr. M., of Philadelphia, and Mr. Simpaoxi, oti^ c^^ \JcvRk 


leading men in England, and have not a doubt of the 
truth of what has been publicly stated concerning them. 
They are a modest people, and make few pretensions ; 
and yet they are a very meritorious people. 

One thing very much to their advantage, as it shows 
the health-giving, health-preserving tendency of their 
practice and principles^ renuiins to be related. When 
the yellow fever prevailed in Philadelphia, in 1818 and 
1819, the infection seemed specially rife in the imme- 
diate vicinity of the Bible Christians. So, also, in 1832, 
with the cholera. And yet none of them fled. There 
they remained during the whole period of suflfering, and 
afibrded their sick neighbors all the relief in their power. 
Their minister, in particular, was unwearied in his ef- 
forts to do good. Yet not one of their little number 
ever sickened or died of either yellow fever or cholera. 

Till within a few years, they have been governed 
solely by regard to religious principle, having known 
little of Physiology or any other science bearing on 
health. Of late, however, they have turned their atten- 
tion to the subject, and have among them a respectable 
Physiological society, which holds its regular meetings, 
and is said to be flourishing. 

From one of their publications, entitled "Vegetable 
Cookery," I have extracted the following very brief 
summary of their views concerning the use- of animals 
for sustenance. 

"The Society of Bible Christians abstain from animal 
food, not only in obedience to the Divine command, but 
because it is an observance, which, if more generally 
adopted, would prevent much cruelty, luxury, and dis- 
ease, besides many otlner evils which cause misery in 
society. \i wctild be \>ro(\ucUvfc oi m\xe\\ %ood, by pro- 


moting health, long life, and happiness, and thus be a 
most effectual means of reforming mankind. It would 
entirely abolish that greatest of curses, war; for those 
who are so conscientious as not to kill animals, will 
never murder human beings. On all these accounts the 
system cannot be too much recommended. The prac- 
tice of abstaining cannot be wrong ; it must therefore 
be some consolation to be on the side of duty. If we 
err, we err on the sure side ; it is innocent ; it is infi- 
nitely better authorized and more nearly associated 
with religion, virtue, and humanity, than the contrary 
practice — and we have the sanction of the wisest and 
the best of men — of the whole Christian world, for seve- 
ral hundred years after the commencement of the Chris- 
tian era.'* 


I class this as a community, because it is properly so, 
and because I cannot conveniently class it otherwise. 
The facts which are to be related are too valuable to be 
lost. They were first published, I believe, in the North- 
ampton Courier; and subsequently in the Boston Medi- 
cal and Surgical Journal, and in the Moral Reformer. 
In the present case, the account is greatly abridged. 

The Orphan Asylum of Albany was established about 
the close of the year 1829, or the beginning of the year 
1830. Shortly after its establishment, it contained 
seventy children, and subsequently many more. The 
average number, from its commencement to August 
1836, was eighty. 

For the first three years, the diet of the inmates con- 
sisted of fine bread, rice, Indian puddings, potatoes, and 
other vegctnbtes and fruits, wUh m\W\ \,o ^\v\d^ ^"^a. 


added flesh or flesh-soup once a day. Considerable at 
tention was also paid to bathing and cleanliness, and to 
clothing, air, and exercise. Bathing, however, was per- 
formed in a perfect manner, only once in three weeks. 
As many of them were received in poor health, not a 
few continued sickly. 

In the fail of 1833, the diet and regimen of the inmates 
were materially changed. Daily ablution of the whole 
body, in the use of the cold shower or sponge bath — or, 
m cases of special disease, the tepid bath was one of the 
first steps taken ; then the fine bread was laid aside for 
that made of unbolted wheat meal ; and soon after flesh 
and flesh-soups were wholly banished ; and thus they 
continued to advance, till, in about three months more, 
they had come fully upon the vegetable system, and 
had adopted reformed habits in regard to sleeping, air, 
clothing, exercise, etc. On this course, then, they con- 
tinued to August, 1836, and, for aught I know, to the 
present time. The results were as follows : 

During the first three years, or while the old system 
was followed, from four to six children were continually 
on the sick list, and sometimes more ; and one or two 
assistant nurses were necessary. A physician was 
needed once, twice, or three times a week, uniformly ; 
and deaths were frequent. During this whole period 
there were between thirty and forty deaths. 

After the new system was fairly adopted, the nursery 
was soon entirely vacated, and the services of the nurse 
and physician no longer needed ; and for more than 
two years no case of sickness or death took place. In 
the succeeding twelve months there were three deaths, 
but they were new inmates, and were diseased when 
they were received ; and Ivjo o^ \.\v^mv4ex^\dvoU. The 


Keport of the Managers says, *^ Under this system of 
dietetics (though the change ought not to be wholly at- 
tributed to the diet) the health of the children has not 
only been preserved, but those who came to the asylum 
weakly, have become healthy and strong, and greatly 
increased in activity, cheerfulness, and happiness." The 
superintendents also state, that " since the new regimen 
has been fully adopted, there has been a remarkable in- 
crease of health, strength, activity, vivacity, cheerful- 
tiess, and contentment among the children. Indeed, 
they appear to be, uniformly, perfectly healthy and hap- 
py ; and the strength and activity they exhibit are truly 
surprising. The change of temper is very great. They 
have become less turbulent, irritable, peevish, and dis- 
coiftented ; and far more manageable, gentle, peaceable, 
and kind to each other." One of them further observes, 
** There has been a great increase in their mental ac- 
tivity and power ; the quickness and acumen of their 
perception, the vigor of their apprehension, and the 
power of their retention daily astonish me." 

Such an account hardly needs comment ; and I leave 
it to make its own impression on the candid and un- 
biassed mind and heart of the reader. 


The Indian tribes of Mexico, according to the travel- 
er Humboldt, live on vegetable food. A spot of ground, 
which, if cultivated with wheat, as in Europe, would 
sustain only ten persons, and which by its produce, if 
converted into pork or beef, would little more than sup- 
port one, will in Mexico, when used for banana, sustain 
equally well two hundred and fifty. 

The reader will do well to take the above fefil> «aad 


the estimates appended to it, along with him when he^ 
comes to examine what I have called the economical 
argument of the great diet question, in our last chapter-, 
under the head, ** The Moral Argument." We shall do 
well to remember another suggestion of Humboldt, th»/ 
the habit of eating animals diminishes our natural horror 
of cannibalism. 


There is, in the Annals of Education for August, 1886, 
an account of a school in which the same simple system 
which was pursued in the Orphan Asylum at Albany 
was adopted, and with the same happy results. I say 
the same system ; I believe plain meat was allowed oc- 
casionally, but it was seldom. Their food was exceed- 
ingly simple, consisting chiefly of bread and other vege- 
tables, fruits and miik. Great attention was also paid 
to daily cold bathing. The following is the teacher's 
statement in regard to the results : 

" I am at present the foster father of nearly seventy 
young people, who were born in all the varieties of cli- 
mate from Lisbon to Moscow, and whose early educa- 
tion was necessarily very different. These young men 
are all healthy ; not a single eruption is visible on their 
faces ; and three years often pass, during which not a 
single one of them is confined to his bed ; and in the 
twenty-one years that I have been engaged in this 
institution, not one pupil has died. Yet, I am no physi- 
cian. During the first ten years of my residence here, 
no physician entered my house ; and, not till the num- 
ber of my pupils was very much increased, and I grew 
anxious not to overlook any thing in regard to them, 
did I begin to seek al a\\ iox rc\eA\c;^\ ^idiN'vci^. 


"It is the mode of treating the young men here, 
which is the cause of their superior health ; and this is 
the reason why death has not yet entered our doors. 
Should we ever deviate from our present principles — 
should we approach nearer the mode of living common 
in wealthy families — we should soon be obliged to es- 
tablish, in our institution, as it .is in others, medicine 
closets and nurseries. Instead of the freshness which 
now adorns the cheeks of our youth, paleness would 
appear, and our church-yards would contain the tombs 
of promising young men, who, in the bloom of their 
years, had fallen victims to disease." 


This association was formed in 1837. When first 
formed, it consisted of one hundred and twenty- four 
males, and forty-one females ; in all, one hundred and 
sixty-five. Their number soon increased to more than 
two hundred. 

Most of these individuals were more or less feeble, 
and a very large proportion of them were actually suf- 
fering from chronic disease when they became mem- 
bers of the society. Not a few joined it, indeed, as a 
last resort, after having tried every thing else, as 
drowning men are said to catch at straws. 

Nearly if not quite all the members of this society, as 
well as most of their families, abstained for a time from 
animal food. Some of them even adopted the vegeta- 
ble system a year or so earlier. And there were a few 
who adopted it much sooner — one or two of them eight 
years earlier. 

Of the individuals belonging to the Physiological 
Society or to their families, and adhering to the same 


principles, two adults only died, and one child, during 
the first two years. I will not be quite positive, buL 
there were four in all, two adults, and two children 7 
but this was the extent of mortality among them for 
about fifteen months. 

The whole number of those who belonged to the so- 
ciety, with those members of their families who adhered 
to their principles (estimating families, as is usually 
done, at five members to each), is believed to have been 
from three hundred and twenty to three hundred and 
fifty. The average mortality for the same number of 
healthy persons, during the same period, in Boston and 
the adjacent places, was about six or seven ; though in 
some places it was much greater. In a single parish 
in Roxbury — and without any remarkable sickness — 
the mortality, for the same number of persons, was 
equal to ten or twelve. 

Now, we must not forget, what I have already stated, 
that this society of vegetable-eaters — the two hundred 
adults, I mean — were generally invalids, and some of 
them given over by physicians. Instead, therefore, of 
only half the usual proportion of deaths among them, we 
might naturally enough have expected twice or three 
times the usual number. And this expectation would 
have appeared still better founded when it was consid- 
ered that many made the change in their habits, and 
especially in their diet, very suddenly. 

But the whole story is not yet told. Not only was 
the number of deaths very small, as above stated, but 
there were a great number of remarkable recoveries. 
Some, who had very obstinate complaints, appeared, 
for a time, to be entirely well. Others were getting 
well as fast as could be e"x^eci\.feA.. ^oxcv^,^Vvq ^ere 


broken down and prematurely old, seemed lo renew 
their youth. Many became free from colds and erup- 
tive complaints, to which they were formerly subject. 
And those who had acute diseases, of whom, however, 
the number was very small, did not suffer so much as 
is usually the case with flesh-eaters in circumstances 
otherwise apparently similar. 

But a reverse at length came. They were led into 
their abstemious course by mere impulse in very many 
cases, and though a library was formed and meetings 
held, nobody, hardly, would read, and the meetings 
grew thin. They had no Joe Smith or Gen. Taylor 
' to lead them — and mankind without leaders and with- 
out deep- toned principle, soon grow tired of war. Few 
will fight in such circumstances. 




General Remarka on the Nature of the Argument — 1. The Anatomical Argoment-* 
2. The Physiological Argument— 3. The Medical Argument— 4. The Political Ar> 
gument — 5. The Economical Ailment— 6. The Argument from Experience.— 
7. The Moral Argument — Conclusion. 

In the progress of a work like this, it may not be 
amiss to present, in a very brief manner, the general 
arguments in defence of a diet exclusively vegetable. 
Some of them have, indeed, already been adverted to 
in the testimony of the preceding chapters ; but not all. 
Besides, it seemed to me desirable to collect the whole 
in a general view. 

There are various ways of doing this, according to 
the different aspects in which the subject is viewed. 
Every one has his own point of observation. I have 
mine. Ctjnformably to the view I have taken, there- 
fore, I shall endeavor to arrange my remarks under the 
nine following heads, viz., the anatomical, the physio- 
logical, the MEDICAL, the political, the economical, 
the experimental, the moral, the millennial, and the 


Dr. Cheyne relied principally on what I have called 
the medical argument — though what I mean by this 
may not be quite obvious, till I shall have presented it 
in its proper place. Not that he wholly overlooked 
any thing else ; but this, as it seems to me, was with 
him the grand point. Nearly the same might be said 
of Dr. Lambe, and of sevexaX oVVvexa 


Dr. Mussey seems to place the anatomical and phys- 
iological arguments in the foreground. It is true he 
makes much use of the medical and the moral argu- 
ments ; but the former appear to be his favorites. Dr. 
Whitlaw, and some others, incline to make the moral 
and political arguments more prominent. Mr. Graham, 
who has probably done more to reduce the subject of 
vegetable dietetics to a system than any other individ- 
ual, — though he makes much use of all the rest, espe- 
cially the moral and medical, — appears to dwell w^ith 
most interest on the physiological argument. This 
seems to be, with him, the strong-hold — the grand cita- 
del. And it must be confessed that the point of defence 
is very strong indeed, as we shall see in the sequel. 

If I have a favorite, with the rest, it is the moral ar- 
gument, or perhaps a combination of this with the eco- 
nomical. But then I dwell on the latter with so much 
interest, chiefly on account of the former. I would 
give very little to be able to bring the world of man- 
kind back to nature's true simplicity, if it were only to 
make them better and more perfect animals ; though I 
know not but an attempt of this sort would be as truly 
laudable as the attempt so often made to improve the 
breed of our domestic animals. I suppose man, con- 
sidered as a mere animal, is superior, in point of impor- 
tance to all the others. But, after all, I would reform 
his dietetic habits principally to make him better, mor- 
ally ; to make him better, in the discharge of his varied 
duties to his fellow-beings and to God. I would ele- 
vate him, that he may become as truly god-like, or 
godly as he now too often is, by his unnatural habits, 
earthly or beastly. I would render him a rational be- 
ing, fitted to fill the space which he appears to have 


been originally designed to fill — the gap in the great 
chain of being between the higher quadrupeds and the 
beings we are accustomed to regard as angelic. I 
would restore him to his true dignity. I would make 
him a child of God, and an heir of a glorious immor- 

But I now proceed to the discussion of the subject 
which I have assigned to this chapter. 


There has been a time when the teeth and intestines 
of man were supposed to indicate the necessity of a 
mixed diet — a diet partly animal and partly vegetable. 
Four out of thirty-two teeth were found to resemble. 
slightly, the teeth of carnivorous animals. In like man- 
ner, the length of the intestinal tube was thought to be 
midway between that of the flesh-eating, and that of 
the herb-eating quadrupeds. But, unfortunately for this 
mode of defending an animal diet, it has been found out 
that the fruit and vegetable-eating monkey race, and 
the herb-eating camel, have the said four-pointed teeth 
much more pointed than those of man ; and that the in- 
testines, compared with the real length of the body, in- 
stead of assigning to man a middle position, would place 
him among the herbivorous animals. In short — for I 
certainly need not dwell on this part of my subject, af- 
ter having adduced so fully the views of Prof. Law- 
rence and Baron Cuvier — there is no intelligent natural- 
ist or comparative anatomist, at present, who attempts 
to resort for one moment to man's structure, in support 
of the hypothesis that he is a flesh-eater. None, so far 
as I know, will affirm, or at least with any show of rea- 
son maintain, that anatomy, so far as that goes, is in 


favor of flesh eating. We come, then, to another and 
more important division of our subject. 


. One of the advantages of vegetable-eaters over oth- 
ers, is in the superior appetite which they enjoy. There 
are many flesh-eaters who have what they call a good 
appetite. But I never knew a person of this descrip- 
tion, who made the change from a mixed diet to one 
purely vegetable, who did not afterward acknowledge 
that he never once knew, while he was an eater of ani- 
mal food, a truly perfect appetite. This testimony in 
fiivor of vegetable diet is positive ; whereas that of the 
multitude, who have never made the change I speak of, 
but who are therefore the more ready to laugh at the 
conclusions, is merely negative. 

A person of perfect appetite can eat at all times, and 
under all circumstances. He can eat of one thing or 
another, and in greater or less quantity. Were there 
no objections to it, he could make an entire meal of the 
coarsest and most indigestible substances ; or, he could 
eat ten or fifteen times a day ; or, he could eat a quantity 
at once which would astonish even a Siberian; or, on 
the contrary, he could abstain from food entirely, for a 
short time ; and any of these without serious inconve- 
nience. He would, indeed, feel a slight want of some- 
thing (in the case of total abstinence), when the usual 
hour arrived for taking a meal ; but the sensation is not 
an abiding one ; when the hour has passed by, it en- 
tirely disappears.. Nor is there ever, at least for a day 
or two of abstinence, that gnawing at the stomach, as 
some express it, which is so often felt by the flesh-eater 
and the devourer of other mixed and injurious dishes 


and which is so generally mistaken for true and genu- 
ine hunger. 

I have said that the vegetable-eater finds no serious 
inconvenience from the quality or quantity of his food; 
but I mean to speak here of the immediate effects solely. 
No doubt every error of this sort produces mischief, 
sooner or later. The more perfect the appetite is, the 
greater should be our moral power of commanding it, 
and of controlling the quality and quantity of our food 
and drink, as well as the times and seasons of receiv- 
ing it. 

These statements, I am aware, are contrary to the 
received and current opinion ; but that they are true, 
can be proved, not by one person merely, — though if 
that person were to be entirely relied on, his positive 
affirmation would outweigh a thousand negative testi- 
monies, — but by many hundreds. It is more generally 
supposed that he who confines himself to a simple diet, 
soon brings his stomach into such a state that the slight- 
est departure from his usual habits for once only, pro- 
duces serious inconveniences ; and this indeed is urged 
as an argument against simplicity itself. Yet, how 
strange ! How much more natural to suppose that the 
more perfect the health of the stomach, the better it will 
bear, for a time, with slight or even serious departures 
from truth and nature ! How much more natural to 
suppose that perfect health is the very best defence 
against all the causes which tend to invite or to pro- 
voke disease ! And what it would be natural to infer, 
is proved by experience to be strictly true. The thor- 
ough-going vegetable-eater can make a meal for once, 
or perhaps feed for a day or so, on substances which 
would almost kill many others ; and can do so with 


comparative impunity. He can make a whole meal of 
cheese, cabbage, fried pudding, fried dough-nuts, etc., 
etc. ; and if it be not in remarkable excess, he will feel 
no immediate inconvenience, unless from the mental 
conviction that he must pay the full penalty at some 
distant day. 

I repeat it, the appetite of the vegetable-eater, if true 
to his principles, and temperate in regard to quantity, is 
always, at all moments of his life, perfect. To be sure, 
he is not always hungry. Hunger, indeed, as I have 
already intimated — what most people call hunger, a 
morbid sensation, or gnawiiig — is unknown to him. 
But there is scarce a moment of his life, at least, when 
he is awake, in which he could not enjoy the pleasures 
of eating, even the coarsest viands, with a high relish; 
provided, however, he knew it was proper for him to 
eat. Nor is his appetite fickle, demanding this or that 
particular article, and disconcerted if it cannot be ob- 
tained. It is satisfied with any thing to which the judg- 
ment directs ; and though gratified, in a high degree, 
with dainties, when nothing better and more wholesome 
cannot be obtained, never demanding them in a peremp- 
tory manner. 

The vegetable-eater has a more quiet, happy, and per- 
fect digestion than the flesh-eater. On this point there 
has been much mistake, even among physiologists. 
Richerand and many others suppose that a degree of 
constitutional disturbance is indispensable during the 
process of digestion ; and some have even said that the 
system was subjected at every meal — nay, at every 
healthy meal — to a species of miniature fever. The 
remarks of Richerand are as follows. I have slightly 
abridged them, but have not altered the ^eTv%^\ 


" While the alimentary solution is going on, a slight 
shivering is felt ; the pulse becomes quicker and more 
contracted ; the vital povirer seems to forsake the other 
organs, to concentrate itself on that which is the seat 
of the digestive process. As the stomach empties it- 
self, the shivering is foliowred by a gentle warmth ; the 
pulse increases in fullness and frequency ; and the insen- 
sible perspiration is augmented. Digestion brings on, 
therefore, a general action, analogous to a febrile par- 

And what is it, indeed^ 2^^ a febrile paroxysm ? Nay, 
Richerand himself confirms this by adding, ^ this fever 
of digestion, noticed already by the ancients, is particu- 
larly observable in women of great sensibility.** That 
is, the fever is more violent in proportion to the want 
of power in the person it attacks to resist its influence; 
just as it is with fever in all other circumstances, or 
when induced by any other causes. 

But, can any one believe the Author of Nature has 
so made us, that in a steady and rational obedience to 
his laws, it is indispensable that we should be thrown 
into a fever three times a day, one thousand and ninety- 
five times in a year, and seventy-six thousand six hun- 
dred and fifty in seventy years ? No wonder, if this 
were true, that the vitality of our organs was ordained 
to wear out soon ; for we see by what means the result 
would be accomplished. 

The fever, however, of which Richerand speaks, does 
very generally exist, because mankind very generally 
depart from nature and her laws. But it is not neces- 
sary. The simple vegetable-eater — if he lives right in 
all other respects — if he errs not as to quantity, knows 
nothing of it ; nor shou\d '\\.\3e Vivovjtv Vi^^ ^jcci^ body. We 


should leave it to the animals below man to err, in 
quantity and quality, to an excess which constitutes a 
surfeit or a fever, and causes fullness and drowsiness, 
and a recumbent posture. The self-styled lord of the 
animal world should rise superior to habits which have 
marked, in every age, certain orders of the lower ani- 

But the chyle which is produced from vegetable ali- 
ment is better — all other things being equal — than that 
which is produced from any other food. For proof of 
this, we need but the testimony of Oliver and other phys- 
iologists. They tell us, unhesitatingly, that under the 
same circumstances, chyle which is formed from vege- 
tables will be preserved from putrefaction many days 
longer — the consequence of greater purity and a more 
perfect vitality — than that which is formed from any 
admixture of animal food. Is it not, then, better for the 
purposes of health and longevity ? Can it, indeed, be 
otherwise ? I will say nothing at present, for want of 
space to devote to it, of the indications which are afford- 
ed by the other sensible properties of the chyle which 
is produced from vegetables. The single fact I have 
presented is enough on that point. 

The best solids and fluids are produced by vegetable 
eating. On this single topic a volume might be written, 
without exhausting it, while I must confine myself to a 
page or two. 

In the first place, it forms better bones and more solid 
muscles, and consequently gives to the frame greater so- 
lidity and strength. Compare, in evidence of the truth 
of this statement, the vegetable-eating millions of middle 
and southern Europe, with the other millions, who, sup- 
posed to he more fortunate, can gel ^ \\\X\^ ^^^Vv q\ ^%V\. 


once a day. Especially, make this cumpurison in Ire- 
land, whe-e the vegetable food selected is far from be- 
ing of thv3 iit'st or best order ; and whose sight is so 
obtuse as not to perceive the difference ? I do not say, 
compare the enervated inhabitant of a hot climate, as 
Spain or Italy, with the inhabitant of England, or Scot- 
land, or Russia, for that would be an unfair comparison, 
wholly so ; but compare Italian with Italian, Frenchman 
with Frenchman, German with German, Scotchman 
with Scotchman, and Hibernian with Hibernian. 

In like manner, compare the millions of Japanese of 
the interior, who subsist through life chiefly on rice, 
with the few millions of the coasts who eat a little fish 
with their rice. Make a similar comparison in China 
and in Hindostan. Notice, in particular, the puny 
Chinese, who live in southern China, on quite a large 
proportion of shell-fish, compared with the Chinese of 
the interior. Extend your observations to Hindostan. 
Do not talk of the effeminate habits and weak constitu- 
tions of the rice and curry eaters there — bad as the ad- 
mixture of rice and curry may be — for that is to com- 
pare the Hindoo with other nations ; but compare Hin- 
doo with Hindoo, which is the only fairway. Compare 
the porters of the Mediterranean, both of Asia and 
Europe, who feed on bread and figs, and carry weights 
to the extent of eight hundred or one thousand pounds, 
with the porters who eat flesh, fish, and oil. Compare 
African with African, American Indian with American 
Indian ; nay, even New Englander with New England- 
er ; for we have a few here who are trained to vegeta- 
ble eating. In short, go where you will, and institute a 
fair comparison, and the results will be, without a single 
exception, in favor of v\ d\e\. c-x.eXvxWwfeW N^^^table. It 


is necessary, however, in making the tiomparison, to 
place good vegetable food in opposition to good animiil 
food ; for no one will pretend that a diet of crude, mis- 
erable, or imperfect, or sickly vegetables will be as 
wholesome as one consisting of rich farinaceous articles 
and fruits ; nor even as many kinds of plain meat. 

The only instance which, on a proper comparison, will 
probably be adduced to prove the incorrectness of these 
views, will be that of a few tribes of American Indians, 
who, though they have extremely robust bodies, are 
eaters of much flesh. But they live also in the open 
air, and have many other good habits, and are healthy 
in spite of the inferiority of their diet. But perfect, 
physically, as they seem to be, and probably are, exam- 
ine the vegetable-eaters among them, of the same tribe, 
and they will be found still more so. 

In the next place, the fluids are all in a better and 
more healthy state. In proof of this, I might mention 
in the first place that superior agility, ease of motion, 
speed, and power of endurance which so distinguish 
vegetable- eaters, wherever a fair comparison is insti- 
tuted. They possess a suppleness like that of youth, 
even long after what is called the juvenile period of life 
is passed over. They are often seen running and jump- 
ing, unless restrained by *he arbitrary custotns of socie- 
ty, in very advanced age. Their wounds heal with 
astonishing rapidity — in as many days as weeks, or 
even months, in the latter case. All this could not hap- 
pen, were there not a good state of the fluids of the sys- 
tem conjoined to a happy state of the solids. 

The vegetable-eater, if temperate in the use of his 
vegetables, and if nil his other habits are good, will en- 
dure, better than the flesh-cater, the exUevcx^^ o^ K^iiit 


and cold. This power of endurance has ever been al- 
lowed to be a sure sign of a good state of health. The 
most vigorous man, as it is well known, will endure 
best both extremes of temperature. But it is a proof 
also of the greater purity of his solids and fluids. 

The secretions and excretions of his body are in a 
better state ; and this, again, proves that his blood and 
other fluids are healthy. He does not so readily per- 
spire excessively as other men, neither is there any want 
of free and easy perspiration. Profuse sweating on 
every trifling exertion of the body or mind, is as much 
a disease as an habitually dry skin. But the vegetable- 
eater escapes both of these extremes. The saliva, the 
tears, the milk, the gastric juice, the bile, and the other 
secretions and excretions — particularly the dejections — 
are as they should be. Nay, the very exhalations of 
the lungs are purer, as is obvious from the breatli. 
That of a vegetable-eater is perfectly sweet, while that 
of a flesh-eater is often as offensive ns the smell of a 
charnel-house. This distinction is discernible even 
among the brute animals. Those which feed on grass, 
grain, etc., have a breath incomparably sweeter than 
those which prey on animals. Conjpare the camel, and 
horse, and cow, and sheep, and rabbit, with the tiger (if 
you choose to approach him), the wolf, the dog, the cat, 
and the hawk. One comparison will be sufficient; you 
will never forget it. But there is as much difference 
between the odor of the breath of a flesh-eating human 
being and a vegetable-eater, as between those of the dog 
and the lamb. This, however, is a secret to all but 
vegetable-eaters themselves, since none but they are so 
situated as to be able to make the comparison. But, 
betake yourself to mea\y v^^^VvxVA^^ ^w^^\\i\\.% ^ few 


years, and live temperately on them, and then you will 
perceive the difference, especially in riding in a stage- 
coach. This, I confess, is rather a draw-back upon the 
felicity of vegetable-eaters ; but it is some consolation 
to know what a mass of corruption we ourselves have 

There is one more secretion to which I wish to direct 
your attention, which is, the fat or oil. The man who 
lives rightly, and rejects animal food among the rest, 
will never be overburdened with fat. He will neither 
be too corpulent nor too lean. Both these conditions 
are conditions of disease, though, as a general rule, cor- 
pulence is most to be dreaded ; it is, at least, the most 
disgusting. Fat, I repeat it, is a secretion- The cells 
in which it is deposited serve for relieving the system 
of many of the crudities and abuses, not to say poisons, 
which are poured into it — cheated, as it were, in 
some degree into the blood, secreted into the fat cells, 
and buried in the fat to be out of the way, and where 
they can do but little mischief. Yet, even here they are 
not wholly harmless. The fat man is almost always more 
exposed to disease, and to severe epidemic disease in par- 
ticular, than the lean man. Let us leave it to the swine 
and other kindred quadrupeds, to dispose of gross half 
poisonous matter, by converting it into, or burying it in 
fet ; let us employ our vital forces and energies in some- 
thing better. Above all, let us not descend to swallow, 
as many have been inclined to do, besides the ancient 
Israelites, this gross secretion, and reduce ourselves to 
the painful necessity of carrying about, from day to 
day, a huge mass of double-refined disease, pillaged from 
the foulest and filthiest of animals. 

Vegetable-eaters— especially L' they avoid condi* 


meDts, as well as flesh and fish — are not apt to be 
thirsty. It is a common opinion among the laboring 
portion of the community, that they who perspire 
freely, must drink freely. And yet I have known one 
or two hard laborers who were accustomed to sweat 
profusely and freely, who hardly ever drank any thing, 
except a little tea or milk at their meals, and yet were 
remarkably strong and healthy, and attained to a great 
age. One of this description (Frederick Lord, of Hart- 
ford, Conn.), lived to about the age of eighty-five. How 
the system is supplied, in such cases, with fluid, I do 
not know ; but I know it is not necessaiy to drink per- 
petually for the purpose ; for if but one healthy man 
can dispense with drinking, others may. The truth is, 
we seldom drink from real thirst. We drink chiefly 
either from habit, or because we have created a morbid 
or diseased thirst by improper food or drink, among 
which animal food is pretty conspicuous. 

I have intimated that, in order to escape thirst, the 
vegetable-eater must abstain also from condiments. 
This he will be apt lo do. It is he who eats flesh and 
fish, and drinks something besides water, who feels such 
an imperious necessity for condiments. The vegetable 
and milk eater, and water-drinker, do not need them. 

It is in this view, that the vegetable system lies at 
the foundation of all reform in the mfltter of temperance. 
So long as the use of animal food is undisturbed and its 
lawfulness unquestioned, all our efforts to heal the mal- 
adies of society are superficial. The wound is not yet 
probed to the bottom. But, renounce animal food, re- 
store us to our proper condition, and feed us on milk 
and farinaceous articles, and our fondness for excite- 
ment and our hankering for exciting drinks and condi- 


ments will, in a few generations, die aw.iy. Animjil 
food is a root of all evil, so far as temperance is con^ 
cemed, in its most popular and restricted sense. ^^ 

The pure vegetable-eaters, especially those ivho are 
trained as such, seldom drink at all. Some use a little 
water with their meals, and a few drink occasionally 
between them, especially if they labor much in the open 
air, and perspire freely. Some taste nothing in the 
form of drink for months, unless we call the abundant 
juices of apples and other fruits, and milk, etc., by that 
name — of which, by the way, they are exceedingly 
fond. The reason is, they are seldom thirsty. Dr. 
Lambe, of London, doubts whether man is naturally a 
drinking animal ; but I do not carry the matter so far. 
Still I believe that ninety-nine hundredths of the drink 
which is used, as now used, does more harm than good. 

He who avoids flesh and fish, escapes much of that 1 
languor and faintness, at particular hours, which others I 
feel. He has usually a clear and quiet head in the 
morning. He is ready, and willing, and glad to rise in 
due season ; and his morning feelings are apt to last all 
day. He has none of that faintness between his meals 
which many have, and which tempts thousands to lunch- 
eons, drams, tobacco, snuff, and opium, and ultimately 
destroys so much health and life. The truth is, that 
vegetable food is not only more quiet and unstimulating 
than any other, but it holds out longer also. I know 
the contrary of this is the general belief; but it is not 
well founded. Animal food stimulates most, and as the 
stimulus goes off soon, we are liable to feel dull after it, 
and to fancy we need the stimulus of drink or some- 
thing else to keep us up till the arrival of another meal. 
And, having acquired a habit of relying on our food to 


Stimulate us immediately, much more than to give as 
real, lasting, permanent strength, it is no wonder we 
feel, for a time, a faintness if we discontinue its use. 
This only shows the power of habit, and the over-stim- 
ulating character of our accustomed food. Nor does 
the simple vegetable-eater suffer, during the spring, as 
other people say they do. All is cheerful and happy 
with him, even then. Nor, lastly, is he subject to hypo- 
chondria or depression of spirits. He is always lively 
and cheerful ; and all with him is bright and happy. As 
it has been expressed elsewhere, with the truly tem- 
perate man it is ** morning all day." 

The system of diet in question, greatly improves, ex- 
alts, and perfects the senses. The sight, smell, and taste 
are rendered greatly superior by it. The difference in 
favor of the hearing and the touch may not be so obvi- 
ous ; nevertheless, it is believed to be considerable. 
But the change in the other senses — the first three 
which I have named— even when we reform as late as 
at thirty-five or forty, is wonderful. I do not wish to 
encourage, by this, a delay of the work of reformation ; 
we can never begin it loo early. 

Vegetable diet favors beauty of form and feature. 
The forms of the natives of some of the South Sea 
Islands, to say nothing of their features, are exceed- 
ingly fine. They are tall and well proportioned. So it 
is with the Japanese and Chinese, especially of the inte- 
rior, where they subsist almost wholly on rice and 
fruits. The Japanese are the finest men, physically 
speaking, in Asia. The New Hollanders, on the con- 
trary, who live almost wholly on flesh and fish, are 
among the most meagre and ugly of the human race, if 
we except the flesh-eal\ng savaged o^ \)cv^ TtfixvVv, ^Tid iKe 


Greenlanders and Laplanders. In short, the principle 
I have here advanced will hold, as a. general rule, I be- 
lieve, other things being equal, throughout the world. 
If it be asked whether I would exalt beauty and sym- 
metry into virtues^ I will oal) say that they are not 
without their use in a virtuous people; and I look for- 
ward to a period in the world's history, when all will 
be comparatively well formed and beautiful. Beauty 
is exceedingly influential, as every one must have ob- 
served who has been long in the world ; at least, if he 
has had his eyes open. And it is probably right that it 
should be so. Our beauty is almost as much within our 
control, as a race, as our conduct. 

A vegetable diet, moreover, promotes and preserves 
a clearness and a generally healthful state of the mental 
faculties. I believe that much of the moral as well as 
intellectual error in the world, arises from a state of 
mind which is produced by the introduction of improper 
liquids and solids into the stomach, or, at least, by their 
application to the nervous system. Be this as it may, 
however, there is nothing better for the brain than a 
temperate diet of well-selected vegetables, with water 
for drink. This Sir Isaac Newton and hundreds of oth- 
ers could abundantly attest. 

It also favors an evenness and tranquillity of temper, 
which is of almost infinite value. The most fiery and 
vindictive have been enabled, by this means, when all 
other means had failed, to transform themselves into 
rational beings, and to become, in this very respect, 
patterns to those around them. If this were its only 
advantage, k\ a physiological point of view, it would be 
of more value than worlds. It favors, too, simplicity 
of character. It makes us, in the language of the Bible, 


to remain, or to become, as little children, and it pre- 
serves our juvenile character and habits through life, 
and gives us a green old age. 

Finally and lastly, it gives us an independence of ex- 
ternal things and circumstances, that can never be at- 
tained without it. In vain may we resort to early dis- 
cipline and correct education — in vain to moral and re- 
ligious training — in vain, I had almost said, to the prom- 
ises and threatenings of heaven itself, so long as we 
continue the use of food so unnatural to nian as the 
flesh of animals, with the condiments and sauces, and 
improper drinks which follow in its train. Our hope, 
under God, is, in no small degree, on a radical change 
in man's dietetic habits — in a return to that simple path 
of truth and nature, from which, in most civilized coun- 
tries, those who have the pecuniary means of doing it 
have unwisely departed. ^ 


If perfect health is the best preventive and security 
against disease, and if a well-selected and properly ad- 
ministered vegetable diet is best calculated to promote 
and preserve that perfect health, then this part of the 
subject — what I have ventured to call the medical argu- 
ment — is at once disposed of. The superiority of the 
diet I recommend is established beyond the possibility 
of debate. Now that this is the case — namely, that this 
diet is best calculated to promote perfect health — I have 
no doubt. For the sake of others, however, it may be 
well to adduce a few facts, and present a few brief con- 

It is now pretty generally known, that Howard, the 
philanthropist, was, for abouV fm\.^ y^^^* ^ vegetable- 

MEDICAL AE^rjMfiNT. 253 

eater, subsisting for much of this time on biead and tea, 
and that he went through every form of exposure to 
disease, contagious and non-contagious, perfectly un- 
harmed. And had it not been for other physical errors 
than those which pertain to diet, I know of no reason 
why his life might not have been preserved many years 
longer — perhaps to this time. 

Rev. Josiah Brewer, late a missionary in Smyrna, 
was very much exposed to disease, and, like Mr. How- 
ard, to the plague itself; and yet I am not aware that 
he ever had a single sick day as the consequence of his 
exposure. I do not know with certainty that he ab- 
stains entirely from flesh meat, but he is said to be 
rigidly temperate in other respects. 

Those who have read Rush's Inquiries and othei 
writings, are aware that he was very much exposed to 
the yellow fever in Philadelphia, during the years in 
which it prevailed there. Now, there is great reason 
for believing that he owed his exemption from the dis- 
ease, in part, at least, to his great temperance. 

Mr. James, a teacher in Liberia, in Africa, had jib- 
stained ibr a few years from animal food, prior to his 
going out to Africa. Immediately after his arrival 
there, and during the sickly season, one of his compan- 
ions who went out with him, died of the fever. Mr. 
James was attacked slightly, but recovered. 

Another vegetable-eater — the Rev. Mr. Crocker — 
went out to a sickly pnrt of Africa some years since, 
and remained at his station a long time in perfect health, 
while many of his friends sickened or died. At length, 
however, he fell. 

Ge.o. Thomas Sheldon, of this state, a vegetable-eater, 
spent several yenrs in the most sickly parts of the 


Southern United States, with an entire immunity from 
disease ; and he gives it as his opinion that it is no mat- 
ter where we are, so that our dietetic and other habits 
are correct. 

Mr. G. M cEIroy, of Kentucky, spent several months 
of the most sickly season in the most unhealthy parts of 
Africa, in the year 1835, and yet enjoyed the best of 
health the whole time. While there and on his passage 
home, he abstained Wholly from animal food, living on 
rice and other farinaceous vegetables and fruits. 

In view of these facts and many others, Mr. Graham 
remarks : " Under a proper regimen our enterprising 
young men of New England may go to New Orleans 
or Liberia, or any where else they choose, and stay as 
long as they choose, and yet enjoy good health." And 
there is no doubt he is right. 

But it is hardly worth while to cite single facts in 
proof of a point of this kind. There is abundant testi- 
mony to be had, going to show that a vegetable diet is 
a security against disease, especially against epidemics, 
whether in the form of a mere influenza or malignant 
fever. Nay, there is reason to believe that a person 
living according to ill the Creator's laws, physical and 
moral, could hardly receive or communicate disease of 
any kind. How could a person in perfect health, and 
obeying to an iota all the laws of health — how could he 
contract disease ? What would there be in his system 
which could furnish a nidus for its reception? 

I am well aware that not a few people suppose the 

most healthy are as much exposed to disease as others, 

and that there are some who even suppose they are 

Diuch more so. "Death delights in a shining mark," or 

something to this effect, Va a ma^\u\ >N\v\c)cv\vac% y^cJ^^v^ 


had its origin in the error to which I have adverted. 
To the same source may be traced the strange opinion 
that a fatal or malignant disease makes its first and 
most desperate attacks upon the healthy and the robust. 
The fact is — and this explains the whole riddle — those 
who are regarded, by the superficial and short-sighted 
in this matter, as the most healthy and robust, are usu- 
ally persons whose unhealthy habits have already sown 
the seeds of disease ; and nothing is wanting but the 
usual circumstances of epidemics to rouse them into ac- 
tion. More than all this, these strong-looking but in- 
wardly-diseased persons are almost sure to die when- 
ever disease does attack them, simply on account of the 
previous abuses of their constitutions. 

During the prevalence of the cholera in New York, 
about the year 1832, all the Grahamites, as they were 
called, who had for some time abstained from animal 
food — and their number was quite respectable — and 
who persevered in it, either wholly escaped the disease, 
or had it very lightly ; and this, too, notwithstanding a 
large proportion of them were very much exposed to 
its attacks, living in the parts of the city where it most 
prevailed, or in families where others were dying al- 
most daily. This could not be the result of mere acci- 
dent ; it is morally impossible. 

But flesh-eaters — admitting the flesh were wholesome 
— are not only much more liable to contract disease, but 
if they contract it, to suffer more severely than others. 
There is yet another important consideration which be- 
longs to the medical argument. Animal food is much 
more liable than vegetable food, to those changes or 
conditions which we call poisonous, and which are al- 
ways, in a greater or less degTeeAYve !io\rcci^^oi&&^'^'ak^\ 


it is also more liable to poisonous mixtures or adultera- 

It is true, that in the present state of the arts, and of 
agriculture and civic life generally, vegetables them- 
selves are sometimes the sources of disease. I refer 
not to the spurred rye and other substances, which oc- 
casionally find their way into our fields and get mixed 
with our grains, etc., and which are known to be very 
active poisons, — so much as to the acrid or otherwise 
improper juices which are formed by forced vegetation, 
especially about cities, whether by means of hot-beds, 
green-houses, or new, strong, or highly-concentrated 
mnnures. I refer also to the crude, unripe, and imper- 
fect fruits and other things with which our markets are 
filled now-a-days; and especially to decaying fruits and 
vegetables. But I cannot enlarge ; a volume would be 
too little to do this part of the subject justice. Nothing 
is more wanted than light on this subject, and a conse- 
quent reform in our fashionable agriculture and horti- 

And yet, although I admit, most cheerfully, the dan- 
ger we are in of contracting disease by using diseased 
vegetables, the danger is neither so trequent nor so im- 
minent, in proportion *o the quantity of it consumed, as 
from animal food. Let us briefly take a view of the 

Milk, in its nature, approaches nearest to the line of 
the vegetable kingdom, and is therefore, in my view, 
the least objectionable form of animal food. I am even 
ready to admit that for persons aflTected with certain 
forms of chronic disease, and for all children, milk is 
excellent. And yet, excellent as it is, it is very liable 
to be /njurious. We ave lo\d, \i^ \.\\^ t«\v>^\ \^^^^^\a!ck\ft 


medical men of France, that all the cows about Paris 
have tubercles (the seeds or beginning of consumption) 
in their lungs ; which is probably owing to the unnatu- 
ral state in which they are kept, as regands the kind, 
and quantity, and hours of receiving their food ; and 
especially as regards air, exercise, and water. Cows 
cannot be healthy, nor any other domestic animals, any 
more than men, when long subjected to the unnatural 
and unhealthy influences of bad air, want of exercise, 
etc. Hence, then, most of our cows about our towns 
and cities must be diseased, in a greater or less degree 
— if not with consumption, with something else. And 
of course their milk must be diseased — not, perhaps, as 
much as their blood and flesh, but more or less so. 
But if milk is diseased, the butter and cheese made 
from it must be diseased also. 

But milk is sometimes diseased through the vegeta- 
bles which are eaten by the cow. Every one knows 
how readily the sensible properties of certain acrid 
plants are perceived in the milk. Hence^, as I have 
elsewhere intimated, we are doubly exposed to danger 
from eating animal food ; first, from the diseases of the 
animal itself, and secondly, from the diseases which are 
liable to be induced upon us ^y the vegetables they use, 
some of which are not poisonous to them, but are so to 
us. So that, in avoiding animal food, we escape at 
least a part of the danger. 

Besides the general fact, that almost all medical and 
dietetic writers object to fat, and to butter among the 
rest, as difficult of digestion and tending to cutaneous 
and other diseases, — and besides the general admission 
in society at large that it makes the skin " break out," — 
it must be obvious that it is liable to retain^ in a greater 


or less degree, all the poisonous properties which ex- 
isted in the milk from which it was made. Next to fat 
pork, butter seems to me one of the worst things that 
ever entenwl a human stomach ; and if it will not, like 
pork, quite cause the leprosy, it will cause almost every 
other skin disease which is known. 

Cheese is often poisoned now-a-days by design. I 
do not mean to say that the act of poisoning is accom- 
panied by malice toward mankind ; far from it. It is 
added to color it, as in the form of anatto; or to give it 
freshness and tenderness, as in the case of arsenic* 

Eggs, when not fresh, are moie or less liable to dis- 
ease. I might even say more. When not fresh, they 
are diseased. On this point we have the testimony of 
Drs. Willich and Dunglison. The truth is, that the yolk 
of the egg has a strong tendency to decomposition, and 
this decomposing or putrefying process begins long be- 
fore it is perceived, or even suspected, by most people. 
There is much reason for believing that a large propor- 
tion of the eggs eaten in civic life, — except when we 
keep the poultry ourselves, — are, when used, more or 
less in a state of decomposition. And yet, into how 
many hundred forms of food do they enter in fashiona- 
ble life, or in truth, in almost every condition of society ! 
The French cooks are said to have six hundred and 
eighty-five methods of cooking the egg, including all 
the various sorts of pastry, etc., of which it forms a 
component pan. 

One of the grand objections against animal food, of 
almost all sorts, is, that it tends with such comparative 

* For proof that arsenic or ratsbane is sometimes added to cheese, see 
the Library of Health, volume ii., page 69. In proof of the poisonous 
tendency of milk aud butler, see Whitlaw*8 Theory of Fever, and Clark's 
Treatise on Pulmonary Conaumplion. 


rapidity to decomposition. Such is at least the case 
with egs^ flesh, and fish of every kind. The usual 
way of preventing the decomposition is by processes 
scarcely leas hurtful — by the addition of 4plt, pyrolig- 
neous acid, saltpetre, lime, etc. These, to be sure, pre- 
vent putrefaction ; but they render every thing to which 
they are applied, unless it is the egg, the more indigest- 

It id- a strange taste in mankind, by the way, which 
leads them to prefer things in a state of incipient de- 
composition. And yet such a taste certainly prevails 
widely. Many like the flesh beaten ; hence the origin 
of the cruel practice of the East of whipping animals to 
death.*' And most persons like fresh meat kept till it 
begins to be tender; that is, begins to putrefy. So 
most persons like fermented beer better than that which 
is unfermented, although fermentation is a step toward 
putrefaction ; and they like vinegar, too, which is also 
far advanced in the same road. 

That diseased food causes diseases in the persons 
who use it, needs not, one would think, a single testi- 
mony ; and yet, I will name a few. 

Dr. Paris, speaking offish, says, — ^"'It is not improba- 
ble that certain cutaneous diseases may be produced, or 
at least aggravated by such diet.** Dr. Dunglison says, 
bacon and cured meats are often poisonous. He speaks 
of the poisonous tendency of eggs, and says that all 
made dishes are more or less "rebellious." In Aurillac, 
in France, not many years since, fifteen or sixteen per- 
sons were attacked with symptoms of cholera after eat- 
ing the milk of a certain goat. The goat died with 
cholera about twenty-four hours after, and two men, no 
* See Dongliscm's Hygiene, ^^e 25Q. 


less eminent than Professors Orfila and Marc, gave it 
iis their undoubted opinion that the cholera symptoms 
alluded to, were caused by the milk. I have myself 
known oyslirs at certain times and sieasons to produce 
the same symptoms. During the progress of a mortal 
disease among the poultry on Edisto Island, S. C, in 
1837, all the dogs, and vultures that tasted of the flesh 
of the dead poultry sickened and died. Chrisiston men- 
tions an instance in which five persons were poisoned 
by eating beef; and Dunglison one in which fourteen 
persons were made sick, and some died, from eating the 
meat of a calf. Between the years 1793 and 1827, it is 
on record that there were in the kingdom of Wurtem- 
berg alone, no less than two hundred and thirty-four 
cases of poisoning, and one hundred and ten deaths, 
from eating sausages. But I need not multiply this 
sort of evidence, the world abounds with it; though for 
one person who is poisoned so much as to be made sick 
iiiiinediately, hundreds perhaps are only slightly af- 
fected ; and the punishment may seem to be deferred 
for many years. 

The truth, in short, is, that every fnshionable process 
of fattening and even of domesticating animals, induces 
disease ; and as most of the animals we use for food are 
domesticated or fattened, or both, it follows that most 
of our animal food, whether milk, butter, cheese, eggs, 
or flesh, is diseased food, and must inevitably, sooner or 
later, induce disease in those who receive it. Those 
which are most fattened are the worst, of course ; as 
the hog, the goose, the sheep, and the ox. The more 
the animal is removed from a natural state, in fattening, 
the more does the fat accumulate, and the more it is 
diseased. Hence the comp\a\w\s ^^^\w^\.^\^\^ ^c^w^c^C 


animal oil or fat^ in every age, by men who, notwith- 
standing their complaints, for the most part, continue to 
set mankind an example of its use. 

Let me here introduce a single paragraph from 
Dr. Cheyne, which is very much to my present pur- 

" About London, we can scarce have any but cram- 
med poultry or stall-fed butchers' meat. It were suffi- 
cient to disgust the stoutest stomach to see the foul, 
gross, and nasty manner in which, and the fetid, putrid, 
and unwholesome materials with which they are fed. 
Perpetual foulness and cramming, gross food and nasti- 
ness, we know, will putrefy the juices, and corrupt the 
muscular substance of human creatures — and sure they 
can do no less in brute animals — and thus make our 
food poison. The same may be said of hot-beds, and 
forcing plants and vegetables. The only way of hav- 
ing sound and healthful animals, is to leave them to 
iheir own natural liberty in the free air, and their own 
proper element, with plenty of food and due cleanliness ; 
and a shelter from the injuries of the weather, when- 
ever they have a mind to retire to it." 

The argument then is, that, for healthy adults at least, 
a well-selected vegetable diet, other things being equal, 
is a preventive of disease, and a security against its vi- 
olence, should it attack us, in a far greater degree than 
a diet which includes animal food in any of its nume- 
rous forms. It will either prevent the common dis- 
eases of childhood, including those which^ are deemed 
contagious, or render their attacks extremely mild : it 
will either prevent or mitigate the symptoms of the se- 
vere diseases of adults, not excepting malignant fevers, 
small-pox, plague, etc. ; and it will either ^reveal suc!^. 


diseases as cancer, gout, epilepsy, scrofula, and con« 
sumption, or prolong life under them. 

Who that has ever thought of the condition of our 
domestic animals, especially about towns and cities-^ 
their want of good air, abundant exercise, good water, 
and natural food, to say nothing of the butter-cup and 
the other poisonous products of over-stimulating or 
fresh manures which they sometimes eat — ^has not been 
astonished to find so little disease among us as there 
actually is ? Animal food, in its best state, is a great 
deal more stimulating and heating to the system than 
vegetable food ; — but how much more injurious is it 
made, in the circumstances in which most animals are 
placed ? Do we believe that even a New Zealand can- 
nibal would willingly eat flesh, if he knew it was from 
an animal that when killed was laboring under a load 
of liver complaint, gout, consumption, or fever? And 
yet, such is the condition of most of the animals we 
slay for food. They would often die of their diseases 
if we did not put the knife to their throats to prevent it. 

One more consideration. If the exclusive use of veg- 
etable food will prevent a multitude of the worst and 
most incurable diseases to which human nature, in 
other circumstances, seems liable; if it will modify the 
diseases which a mixed diet, or absolute intemperance, 
or gluttony had induced, — by what rule can we limit its 
influence ? How know we that what is so efficacious 
in regard to the larger diseases, will not be equally so 
in the case of all smaller ones? And why, then, may 
not its universal adoption, after a few generations, ban- 
ish disease entirely from the world ? Every person of 
common observation, knows thai, as a general rule, 
they who npproach the T\e^\'es\. \o ?i ^wx^ N^^<fc\,\i!ciV^ ^xvd 


water diet, are most exempt from disease, and the lon- 
gest-lived and most happy. How, then, can it otherwise 
happen than that a still closer approximation will afford 
a greater exemption still, and so on indefinitely ? At 
what point of an approach toward such diet and regi- 
men, and toward perfect health at the same time, is it 
that we stop, and more temperance still will injure us ? 
In short, where do we cross the line ? 


I have dwelt at such length on the physiological and 
medical arguments in defence of the vegetable system, 
that I must compress my remaining views into the 
smallest space possible; especially those which relate 
to its political, national, or general advantages. 

Political economists tell us that the produce of an 
acre of land in wheat, corn, potatoes, and other vegeta- 
bles, and in fruits, will sustain animal life sixteen times as 
long as when the produce of the same acre is converted 
into flesh, by feeding and fattening animals upon it. 

But, if we admit that this estimate is too high, and if 
the real difference is only eight to one, instead of six- 
teen to one, the results may perhaps surprise us ; and 
if we have not done it before, may lead us to reflection. 
Let us see what some of them are. 

The people of the United States are believed to eat, 
upon the average, an amount of animal food equal at 
least to one whole meal once a day, and those of Great 
Britain one in two days. But taking this estimate to be 
correct. Great Britain, by substituting vegetable for ani- 
mal food, might sustain forty-nine instead of twenty-one 
millions of inhabitants, and the United States sixty-six 
millions instead of twenty ; and this, too, in their present 


comfort, and without clearing up any more new land. 
Here, then, we are consuming that unnecessarily — ^if 
animal food is unnecessary — which would sustain seven- 
ty-nine millions of human beings in life, health, and hap- 

Now, if life is a blessing at all — if it is a blessing to 
twenty-two millions in Great Britain, and twenty mil- 
lions in the United States — then to add to this popula- 
tion an increase of seventy-nine millions, would be to 
increase, in the same proportion, the aggregate of hu- 
man happiness. And if, in addition to this, we admit 
the very generally received principle, that there is a 
tendency, from the nature of things, in the population 
of any country, to keep up with the means of support, 
we, of Great Britain and America, keep down, at the 
present moment, by flesh-eating, sixty-three millions of 

We do not destroy them, in the full sense of the term, 
it is true, for they never hud an existence. But we 
prevent their coming into the possession of a joyous and 
happy existence ; and though we have no name for it, 
is it not a crime ? What ! no crime for thirty-five mil- 
lions of people to prevent and preclude the existence of 
sixty-three millions ? 

I see no way of avoiding the force of this argument, 
except by denying the premises on which I have found- 
ed my conclusions. But they are far more easily de- 
nied than disproved. The probability, after all, is, that 
my estimates are too low, and that the advantages of 
an exclusively vegetable diet, in a national or political 
point of view, are even greater than is here represented. 
I do not deny, that some deduction ought to be made 
on account of tlie c,(nAsww\>V\o\\ <.>^ ^\^\\, >n\\\^\\ ^q^^ w^t 


prevent llie growtli or use of vegetable products ; but 
my belief is, that, including them, the animal food we 
use amounts to a great deal more than one meal a day. 
or one third of our whole living. 

Suppose there was no cHme in shutting human beings 
out of existence by flesh-eating, at the amazing rate I 
have mentioned — still, is it not, I repeat it, a great na- 
tional or political loss ? Or, will it be said, in its de- 
fence, as has been said in defence of war, if not of in- 
temperance and some of the forms of licentiousness, that 
as the world is, it is a blessing to keep down its popula- 
tion, otherwise it would soon be overstocked ? The ar- 
gument would be as good in one case as in the other ; 
that is, it is not valid in either. The world might be 
made to sustain, in comfort, even in the present com- 
paratively infant state of the arts and sciences, at least 
forty or fifty times its present number of inhabitants. 
It will be time enough a thousand or two thousand 
years to come, to begin to talk about tlie danger of the 
world's being over-peopled ; and, above all, to talk 
about justifying what we know is, in the abstract, very 
wrong, to prevent a distant imagined evil ; one, in fact, 
which may not, and probably will not ever exist 


The economy of the vegetable system is so intimately 
connected with its political or national advantages ; that 
IBf so depends on, or grows out of them, that I hesitated 
for some time before I decided to consider it separately. 
Whatever is shown clearly to be for the general good 
policy and well-being of society, cannot be prejudicial 
to the best interests of the individuals who compose that 
society. Still, there are some minor considerations that 


I wish to present under this head, that coi^.ld not sc #»ell 
have been introduced any where else. 

There is, indeed, one reason for omitting wholly the 
consideration of the pecuniary advantages of the system 
which I am attempting to defend. The public, to some 
extent, at once consider him who adverts to this topic, 
as parsimonious or mean. But, conscious as I am of 
higher objects in consulting economy than the saving 
of money, that it may be expended on things of no more 
value than the mere indulgence or gratification of the 
appetites or the passions, in a world where there are 
minds to educate and souls to save, I have ventured to 
treat on the subject. 

It must be obvious, at a single glance, that if the veg- 
etable products of an acre of land — such as wheat, rye, 
corn, barley, potatoes, beans, peas, turnips, beets, apples, 
strawberries, etc. — will sustain a family in equal health 
eight limes as long as the pork, or beef, or mutton, which 
the same vegetables would make by feeding them to 
domestic animals, it must be just as mistaken a policy 
for the individual to make the latter disposition of these 
products as for a nation to do so. Nations are made 
of individuals ; and, as I have already said, whatever is 
best, in the end, for the one, must also be the best, as a 
general rule, for the other. 

But who has not been familiar from his very infancy 
with the maxim, that " a good garden will half support 
a family ?" And who that is at all informed in regard 
to the manners and customs of the old world, does not 
know that the maxim has been verified there, time im- 
memorial ? But again : who has not considered, that 
if a garden of a given size will half support a family, 
one twice as large wov)i\d svx\v\io\\. \\. vi V\oUy ^ 


The truth is, it necd.s but a very sinnll sfxjt indeed, of 
good soil, for rnising nil the nt;e(?s.sarit:s <>t n family. I 
think I have shown, in another work,* that five hundred 
and fifty pounds of Indian or corn meal, or ten bushels 
of the corn, properly cooked, will support, or more than 
support, an adult individual a year. Four times this 
amount is a very large allowance for a family of five 
persons ; nay, even three times is sufficient. But how 
small a spot of good soil is required for raising thirty 
bushels of corn ! 

It is true, no family would wish to be confined a whole 
year to this one kind of food ; nor do I wish to have it 
80 ; not that 1 think any serious mischiefs would arise 
as the consequence ; but I should prefer, for my own 
part, a greater variety. But this does not materially 
alter the case. Suppose an acre and a half of land 
were required for the production of thirty bushels of 
corn. Let the cultivator, if he chooses, raise only fifteen 
bushels of corn, and sow the remainder with barley, or 
rye, or wheat. Or, if he prefer it, let him plant the one 
half of the piece with beans, peas, potatoes, beets, onions, 
etc. The one half of the space devoted to the produc- 
tion of some sort of grain would still half support his 
family; and it would require more than ordinary glut- 
tony in a family of five persons to consume the produce 
of the other half, if the crops were but moderately abun- 
dant, A quarter of an acre of it ought to produce, at 
least, sixty bushels of potatoes ; but this alone, would 
give such a family about ten pounds of potatoes, or one 
sixth of a bushel a day, for every day in the year, which 
18 a tolerable allowance of food, without the grain and 
other vegetables. 

* The Young Hoosekeeptti. > " 



But suppose a whole family were to live wholly on 
grain, as corn, or even wheat, for the year ; the whole 
expenditure would hardly, exceed fifty dollars^ in dear 
places and in the dearest times. Of course, I am speak- 
ing now of expenses for food and drink merely, the lat- 
ter of which usually costs nothing, or need not. How 
small a sum is this to expend in New York, or Boston, 
or Philadelphia, in the maintenance of a family 1 And 
yet, it is amply sufficient for the vegetable-eater, unless 
his family live exclusively on wheat bread, or milk, 
when it might fall a little short. Of corn, at a dollar a 
bushel, it would give him eight pounds a day — &r more 
than a family ought to consume, if they ate nothing 
else; and of potatoes, at forty cents a bushel, above 
twenty pounds, or one third of a bushel — more than 
sufficient for the family of an Hibernian. 

Now, let me ask how much beef, or lamb, or pork, or 
sausages, or eggs, or cheese, this would buy ? At ten 
cents a pound for each, which is comparatively low, it 
would buy five hundred pounds ; about one pound and 
six ounces for the whole family, or four or five ounces 
each a day. This would be an average amount of nu- 
triment equal to that of about two ounces of grain, or 
bread of grain, a day, to each individual. In so far as 
laid out in butter, or chicken, or turkey, at twenty cents 
a pound, it would give also about two or three ounces 
a day ! 

Further remarks under this head can hardly be neces- 
sary. He who considers the subject in its various as- 
pects, will be likely to see the weight of the argument. 
There is a wide difference between a system which will 
give to each member of a family, upon the average, 
only about four or five ^wtvc^s o^ feod ^ d^Y-* ^^^ ^^^ 


which will give each of them more than twenty-five 
ounces a day, each ounce of the latter containing twice 
the nutriment of the former, and being much more sa- 
vory and healthy at the same time. There is a wide 
difference, in matters of economy, at least, between onb 
and TEN. 

I will only add, under this head, a few tables. The 
first is to show the comparative amount of nutritious 
matter contained in some of the leading articles of hu- 
man food, both animal and vegetable. It is derived 
from tbe researches of such men aa MM. Percy and 
Vauquelin, of France, and Sir Humphrey Davy, of 



of Wheat coDtain 85 pounds of nutritious matter. 




" 90 







" 80 







" 83 







" 93 







" 94 







89 to 92 






Bread (average) 80 






Meat (average) 35 






Potatoes contain 25 







" 14 







10 to 14 







" 7 







turnips 4 to 8 



Of course, it does not follow that every individual 
will be able to extract just this amount of nutriment 
from each article; for, in this respect, as well as in 
others, much will depend on circumstances. 

The second table is from Mr. James Simpson, of 
Manchester, England, in a small work entitled, "The 
Products of the Vegetable Kingdom versus Animal 
Pood/' recently published in Londotv. \\» fei^V^ 'ax^ ^^ 


rived from Dr. Piayfair, Boussingault, and other high 
authorities. It will be seen to refute, entirely, the pop- 
ular notions concerning the Liebig theory. The truth 
is, Liebig's views are misunderstood. His views are 
not so much opposed to mine as many suppose. Be- 
sides, neither he nor I are infallible. 

Solid matter. Water. FleA forming Heat forming A«h«for 
DuiiuuMuer. TTMsr. princ^le. principle. tiiebooeii 


28 per ct 72 per ct. 


per ct. 

26 per ct 

1 per 










1 " 

Barley Meal 









2 *• 










3 « 










3 ** 










2J •• 










3J « 










1 " 






























A person trained in the United States or in England 
— but especially one who was trained in New England 
— might very naturally suppose that all the world were 
flesh-eaters ; and that the person who abstains fronn an 
article, which is at almost every one's table, was quite 
singular. He would, perhaps, suppose there must be 
something peculiar in his structure, to enable him to 
live without either flesh or fish ; particularly, if he were 
a laborer. Little would he dream — little does a per- 
son who has not had much opportunity for reading, and 
who has not been taught to reflect, and who has never 
traveled a day's journey from the place which gave 
him birth, even so muc\\ as Axe^Lrcv — ^Ocv^v ^Wci%\. \iil the 


world, or at least almost all the hard-laboring part of it, 
are vegetable-eaters, and always have been ; and that 
it is only in a few comparatively small portions of the 
civilized and haU-civiiized world, that the bone and 
sinew of our race ever eat flesh or fish for any tiling 
more than as a condiment or seasoning to the rest of 
their food, or even taste it at all. And yet such is the 

It is true, that in a vast majority of cases, as I have 
already intimated, laborers are vegetable-eaters from 
necessity : they cannot get flesh. Almost all mankind, 
as they are usually trained, are fond of extra stimulants, 
if they can get them ; and whether they are called sav- 
ages or civilized men, will indulge in them more or less, 
if they are to be had, unless their intellectual and moral 
natures have been so well developed and cultivated, as 
to have acquired the ascendency. Spirits, wine, cider, 
beer, cofiee, tea, condiments, tobacco, opium, snufl*, flesh 
meat, and a thousand other things, which excite, for a 
time, more pleasurable sensations than water and plain 
vegetables and fruits, will be sought with more or less 
eagerness according to the education which has been 
received, and according to our power of self-govern- 

I have said that most persons are vegetable-eaters 
from necessity, not from choice. There are some 
tribes in the equatorial regions who seem to be excep- 
tions to this rule ; and yet I am not quite satisfied they 
are so. Some children, among us, who are trained to 
a very simple diet, will seem to shrink from tea or cof- 
fee, or alcohol, or camphor, and even from any thing 
which is much heated, when first presented to them. 
But, train the same children to the ordinary^ comijlex^ 


high-seasoned diet of this country, and it will not take 
long to find out that they are ready to acquire the habit 
of relishing the excitement of almost all sorts of unfuUn- 
rah which can be presented to them* And if there are 
tribes of men who at first refuse flesh meat, I appre- 
hend they do so for the same reasons which lead a 
child among us, who is trained simply to refuse hot 
food and drink, or at least, hot tea and coflfee, when the 
latter are first presented to him. 

GutzlafT, the Chinese traveler and missionary, has 
found that the Chinese of the interior, who have scarce- 
ly ever tasted flesh or fish, soon acquire a wonderful 
relish for it, just as our children do for spirituous or 
exciting drinks and drugs, and as savages do for to- 
bacco and spirits. But he has also made another dis- 
covery, which is, that flesh-eating almost ruins them 
for labor. Instead of being strong, robust, and active, 
they soon become lazy, self-indulgent, and effeminate. 
This is a specimen — perhaps a tolerably fair one — of 
the natural tendency of such food in all ages and coun- 
tries. Man every where does best, nationally and indi- 
vidually, other things being equal, on a well-chosen 
diet of vegetables, fruits, and water. In proportion as 
individuals or families, or tribes or nations, depart from 
this— other things being equal — in the same proportion 
do they degenerate physically, intellectually, and mor- 

Such a statement may startle some of my New En- 
gland readers, perhaps, who have never had opportunity 
to become acquainted with facts as they are. But can 
it be successfully controverted ? Is it not true, that, 
with a few exceptions — and those more apparent than 
real — nations have floumVx^A, ^.ivdi catvXvcvwad lo flourisia, 


in proportion as they have retained the more natural 
dietetic habits to which I have alluded ; and that they 
have been unhappy or short-lived, as nations, in pro- 
portion as exciting food and drink have been used ? Is 
it not true, that those individuals, famiUes, tribes, and 
nations, which have used what I call excitements, liquid 
or solid, have been subjected by them to the same ef- 
fects which follow the use of spirits — first, invigoration, 
and subsequently decline, and ultimately a loss of 
strength ? Why is it that the more wealthy, all over 
Europe, who get flesh more or less, deteriorate in their 
families so rapidly ? Why is it that every thing is, in 
this respect, so stationary among the middle classes 
and the poor ? 

In short — for the case appears to me a plain one — it 
is the simple habits of some, whether we speak of na- 
tions, families, or individuals, which have preserved the 
world from going to utter decay. In ancient times, the 
Egyptians, the most enlightened and one of the most en- 
during of nations, were what might properly be called 
a vegetable-eating nation ; so were the ancient Per- 
sians, in the days of their greatest glory ; so the Esse- 
nes, among the Jews; so the Romans, as I have said 
elsewhere, and the Greeks. If either Moses or Herod- 
otus is to be credited, men lived, in ancient times, 
about a thousand years. Indeed, empire seems to have 
departed from among the ancient nations precisely when 
simplicity departed. So it is with nations still. A flesh- 
eating nation may retain the supremacy of the world a 
short time, as several European and American nations 
have done ; just as the laborer, whose brain and nerves 
are stimulated by ardent spirits, may for a time retain — 
through the medium of an artificial strength — ^the as* 


cendency among his fellow-laborers; but the triumph 
of both the nation and the individual must be short, and 
the debility which follows proportionable. And if the 
United States, as a nation, seem t6 form an exception 
to the truth of this remark, it is only because the stage 
of debility has not yet arrived. Let us be patient, how- 
ever, for It is not far off. 

But to come to the specification of facts. The Ja- 
panese of the interior, according to some of the British 
geographers, live principally on rice and fruits — a single 
handful of rice often forming the basis of their frugal 
meal. Flesh, it is said, they either cannot get, or do 
not like ; and to milk, even, they have the same sort of 
aversion which most of us have to blood. It is only a 
few of them, comparatively, and those principally who 
live about the coasts, who ever use either flesh or fish. 
And yet we have the concurring testimony of all geog- 
raphers and travelers, that in their physical and intel- 
lectual d velopment, at least, to say nothing of their 
moral peculiarities, they are the finest men in all Asia. 
In what other country of Asia are schools and early 
education in such high reputation as in Japan ? Where 
are the inhabitants so well formed, so stout made, and 
so robust? Compare them with the natives of New 
Holland, in the same, or nearly the same longitude, and 
about as far south of the equator as the Japanese are 
north of it, and what a contrast ! The New Holland- 
ers, though eating flesh liberally, are not only mere 
savages, but they are among the most meagre and 
wretched of the human race. On the contrary, the Ja- 
panese, in mind and body, are scarcely behind the mid- 
dle nations of Europe. 

Nearly the same remarks will apply to China, and 


with iittle modification, to Hindostan. In short, the 
hundreds of millions of southern Asia are, for the most 
part, vegetable-eaters ; and a large proportion of them 
live chiefly, if not wholly on rice, though by no means 
the most favorable vegetable for exclusivie use. What 
countries like these have maintained their ancient, 
moral, intellectual, and political landmarks ? Grant that 
they have made but little improvement from century to 
century ; it is something not to have deteriorated. Let 
us proceed with our general view of the world, ancient 
and modern. 

The Jews of Palestine, two thousand years ago, lived 
chiefly on vegetable food. Flesh, of certain kinds, was 
indeed admissible, by their law ; but, except at their 
feasts and on special occasions, they ate chiefly bread, 
milk, honey, and fruits, 

Lawrence says that " the Greeks and Romans, in the 
periods of their greatest simplicity, manliness, and bra- 
very, appear to have lived almost entirely on plain veg- 
etable preparations.'' 

The Irish of modern days, as well as the Scotch, are 
confined almost wholly to vegetable food. So are the 
Italians, the Germans, and many other nations of mod- 
ern Europe. Yet, where shall we look for finer speci- 
mens of bodily health, strength, and vigor, than in these 
very countries? The females, especially, where shall 
we look for their equals 1 The men, even — the Scotch 
and Irish, for example — are they weaker than their 
brethren, the English, who use more animal food ? 

It will be said, perhaps, the vegetable-eating Europe- 
ans are not always distinguished for vigorous minds. 
True ; but this, it may be maintained, arises from their 
degraded physical condition, generally ; and that neglect 


of mea(al and moral cultivation which accompanies it. 
A lewi evcax Jjere, like comets in the material system, 
have ^xccaaioEfLlly broken out, and emitted no faint Jight 
in the sphere dn which they were destined to move.. 

But we ar6 not confined to Europe. The South Sea 
Islanders, in many instances, feed almost wholly on 
vegetable substances; yet their agility and strength 
are so great, that it is said ** the stoutest and most ex- 
pert English sailors, had no chance with them in wrest- 
ling and boxing.'* 

We come, lastly, to Africa, the greater part of whose 
millions feed on rice, dates, etc. ; yet their bodily pow- 
ers are well known. 

In short, more than half of the 800,000,000 of human 
beings which inhabit our globe live on vegetables ; or, 
if they get meat at all, it is so rarely that it can hardly 
have any effect on their structure or character. Out of 
Europe and the United States — I might even say, out 
of the latter — the use of animal food is either confined 
to a few meagre, weak, timid nations, like the Esqui- 
maux, the Greenlanders, the Laplanders, the Samoiedes, 
the Kamtschadales, the Ostiacs, and the natives of Sibe- 
ria and Terra del Fuego ; or those wealthier classes, or 
individuals of every country, who are able to range 
lawlessly over the Creator's domains, and select, for 
their tables, whatever fancy or fashion, or a capricious 
appetite may dictate, or physical power aflTord them. 


In one point of view, nearly every argument which 
can be brought to show the superiority of a vegetable 
diet over one that includes flesh or fish, is a moral ar- 


Thus, if man is so constituted by his structure, and 
by the laws of his animal economy, that all the func- 
tions of the body, and of course all the faculties of the 
mind, and the affections of the soul, are in better condi- 
tion — better subserve our own purposes, and the pur- 
poses of the great Creator — as well as hold out longer, 
on the vegetable system — then is it desirable, in a moral 
point of view, to adopt it. If mankind lose, upon the 
average, about two years of their lives by sickness, as 
some have estimated it,* saying nothing of the pain and 
suffering undergone, or of the mental anguish and soul 
torment which grow out of it, and often render life a 
burden ; and if the simple primitive custom of living on 
vegetables and fruits, along with other good physical 
and mental habits, which seem naturally connected with 
it, will, in time, nearly if not wholly remove or prevent 
this amazing loss, then is the argument deduced there- 
from, in another part of this chapter, a moral argument. 

If, as I have endeavored to show, the adoption of the 
vegetable system by nations and individuals, would 
greatly advance the happiness of all, in every known 
respect, and if, on this account, such a change in our 
flesh-eating countries would be sound policy, and good 
economy, — then we have another moral argument in 
its favor. 

But, again ; if it be true that all nations have been 
the most virtuous and flourishing, other things being 
equal, in the days of their simplicity in regard to food, 
drink, etc. ; and if we can, in every instance, connect 
the decline of a nation with the period of their depart- 
ure, as a nation, into the maze of luxurious and ener- 

• Or, more nearly, perhaps, a year and a half, in this country. In 
ti^qgland, it is one year and five-tevenths. 


vating habits ; and if this doctrine is, as a general rule, 
obviously applicable to smaller classes of men, down to 
single families, then is the argument we derive from it 
in its nature a moral one. Whatever really tends, with- 
out the possibility of mistake, to the promotion of hu- 
man happiness, here and hereafter, is, without doubt, 

But this, though much, is not all. The destruction 
of animals for food, in its details and tendencies, in- 
volves so much of cruelty as to cause every reflecting 
individual — notdestitute of the ordinary sensibilities of 
our nature — to shudder. I recall: daily observation 
shows that such is not the fact; nor should it, upon 
second thought, be expected. Where all are dark, the 
color is not perceived ; and so universally are the moral 
sensibilities which really belong to human nature dead- 
ened by the customs which prevail among us, that few, 
if any, know how to estimate, rightly, the evil of which 
I speak. They have no more a correct idea of a true 
sensibility — not a morbid one — on this subject, than a 
blind man has of colors ; and for nearly the same rea- 
sons. And on this account it is, that T seem to shrink 
from presenting, at this time, those considerations 
which, I know, cannot, from the very nature of the 
case, be properly understood or appreciated, except by 
a very few. 

Still there are some things which, I trust, may be 
made plain. It must be obvious that the custom of 
rendering children familiar with the taking away of 
life, even when it is done with a good degree of tender- 
ness, cannot have a very happy effect. But, when this 
is done, not only without tenderness or sympathy, but 
often with manifestations of g^ve?^l pleasure, and when 


children, as in some cases, are almost constant wit- 
nesses of such scenes, how dreadful must be the results! 

In this view, the world, I mean our own portion of it, 
sometimes seems to me like one mighty slaughter-house 
—one grand school for the suppression of every kind, 
and tender, and brotherly feeling — one grand process of 
education to the entire destitution of all moral princi- 
ple — one vast scene of destruction to all moral sensi- 
bility, and all sympathy with the woes of those around 
us. Is it not so ? 

I have seen many boys who shuddered, at first, at 
the thought of taking the life, even of a snake, until 
compelled to it by what they conceived to be duty ; 
and who shuddered still more at taking the life of a 
lamb, a calf, a pig, or a fowl. And yet I have seen 
these same boys, in subsequent life, become so changed, 
that they could look on such scenes not merely with 
indifference, but with gratification. Is this change of 
feeling desirable? How long is it after we begin to 
look with indifiference on pain and suflTering in brutes, 
before we begin to be less afifected than before by hu- 
man sufifering? 

I am not ignorant that sentiments like these are either 
regarded as morbid, and therefore pitiable, or as af- 
fected, and therefore ridiculous. Who that has read 
the story of Anthony Benezet, as related by Dr. Rush, 
has not smiled at what he must have regarded a feeling 
wholly misplaced, if nothing more? And yet it was a 
feeling which I think is very far from deserving ridi- 
cule, however homely the manner of expressing it. But 
J have related this interesting story in another part of 
the work. 

I am not prepared to maintain, strongly, the old- 


fashioned doctrine, ihat a butcher who connmences his 
employment at adult age, is necessarily rendered hard- 
hearted or unfeeling ; or, that they who eat flesh have 
their sensibilities deadened, and their passions inflamed 
by it — though I am not sure that there is not some truth 
in it. I only maintain, that to render children familiar 
with the taking away of animal life,— especially the 
lives of our own domestic animals, often endeared to us 
by many interesting circumstances of their history, or 
of our own, in relation to them, — cannot be otherwise 
than unhappy in its tendency. 

I V shocking it must be to the inhabitants of Jupr- 
ter, or some other planet, who had never before wit- 
nessed these sad efiects of the ingress of sin among us, 
to see the carcasses of animals, either whole or by 
piece-meal, hoisted upon our very tables before the 
faces of children of all ages, from the infant at the 
breast, to the child of ten or twelve, or fourteen, and 
carved, and swallowed ; and this not merely once, but 
from day to day, through life ! What could they — 
what would they — expect from such an education of the 
young mind and heart? What, indeed, but mourning, 
desolation, nnd woe ! 

On this subject the First Annual Report of the Amer- 
ican Physiological Society thus remarks — and I wish 
the remark might have its due weight on the mind of 
the reader : 

** How can it be right to be instrumental in so mud 
unnecessary slaughter? How can it be right, espe- 
cially for a^ountry of vegetable abundance like ours, to 
give daily employment to twenty thousand or thirty 
thousand butchers ? How can it be right to train our 
children to behold such slaughter? How can it be 


right to blunt the edge of their moral sensibilities, by 
placing before them, at almost every meal, the mangled 
corpses of the slain ; and not only placing them there, 
but rejoicing while we feast upon them ?" 

One striking evidence of the tendency which an 
habitual shedding of blood has on the mind and heart, 
is found in the fact that females are generally so reluc- 
tant to take away life, that notwithstanding they are 
trained to a fondness for all sorts of animal food, very 
few are willing to gratify their desires for a stimulating 
diet, by becoming their own butchers. I have indeed 
seen females who would kill a fowl or a lamb rather 
than go without it; but they are exceedingly rare. 
And who would not regard female character as tar- 
nished by a familiarity with such scenes as those to 
which I have referred ? But if the keen edge of female 
delicacy and sensibility would be blunted by scenes of 
bloodshed, are not the moral sensibilities of our own 
sex affected in a similar way ? And must it not, then, 
have a deteriorating tendency ? 

It' cannot be otherwise than that the circumstances 
of which I have spoken, which so universally surround 
infancy and childhood, should take off, gradually, the 
keen edge of moral sensibility, and lessen every virtu- 
ous or holy sympathy. I have watched — I believe im- 
partially — the effect on certain sensitive young persons 
in the circle of my acquaintance. I have watched my- 
self. The result has confirmed the opinion I have just 
expressed. No child, I think, can walk through a com- 
mon market or slaughter-house without receiving moral 
injury ; nor am I quite sure that any virtuous adult can. 

How have I been struck with the change produced in 
the young mind by that merriment whi^h often accora- 


paiiies the slaughter of an innocent fowl, or iamb, or 
pig ! How can the Christian, with the Bible in hand, 
and the merciful doctrines of its pages for his text, 

** Teach me to feel another's woe, " 

— the beast's not excepted — and yet, having laid down 
that Bible, go at once from the domestic altar to make 
light of the convulsions and exit of a poor domestic ani- 

Is it said, that these remarks apply only to the cJmse 
of a thing, which, in its place, is proper ? Is it said, 
that there is no necessity of levity on these occasions ? 
Grant that there is none ; still the result is almost inev- 
itable. But there is, in any event, one way of avoiding, 
or rather preventing both the abuse and the occasion 
for abuse, by ceasing to kill animals for food ; and I 
venture to predict that the evil never will be prevented 

The usual apology for hunting and fishing, in all their 
various and often cruel forms, — whereby so many of 
our youth, from the setters of snares for birds, and the 
anglers for trout, to the whalemen, are educated to cru- 
elty, and steeled to every virtuous and holy sympathy, — 
is, the necessity of the animals whom we pursue for 
food. I know, indeed, that this is not, in most cases, 
the true reason, but it is the reason given — it is the sub- 
stance of the reason. It serves as an apology. They 
who make it may often be ignorant of the true reason, 
or they or others may wish to conceal it; and, true to 
human nature, they are ready to give every reason for 
their conduct, but the real and most efficient one. 

It must not, indeed, be concealed that there is one 
more apology usually made for these cruel sports ; and 


maoe too, in some instances^ by good men ; I mean, by 
men whose intentions are in the main pure and excel- 
lent. These sports are healthy, they tell us. They are 
a relief to mind and body. Perhaps no good man, in 
our own country, has defended them with more inge- 
nuity, or with more show of reason and good sense, 
than Dr. Comstock, in his recent popular work on Hu- 
man Physiology. And yet, there is scarcely a single 
advantage which he has pointed out, as being derived 
from the '* pleasures of the chase," that may not be 
gained in a way which savors less of blood. The doc- 
tor himself is too much in love with botany, geology, 
mineralogy, and the various branches of natural history, 
not to know what I mean when 1 say this. He knows 
full well the excitement, and, on his own principles, the 
consequent relief of body and mind from their accus- 
tomed and often painful round, which grows out of 
clambering over mountains and hills, and fording 
streams, and climbing trees and rocks, to need any very 
broad hints on the subject ; to say nothing of the de- 
lights of agriculture and hprticulture. How could he, 
then, give currency to practices which, to say the 
least, — and by his own concessions, too, — are doubtful 
in regard to their moral tendencies, by inserting his 
opinions in favor of sports, for which he himself hap- 
pens to be partial, in a school-book? Is this worthy of 
those who would educate the youth of our land on the 
principles of the Bible? 


I believe it is conceded by most intelligent men, that 
all the arguments we bring against the use of animal 
food, which are derived from anatomy, physiology, or 


the laws of health, or even of psychology, are well 
founded. But they still say, "Man is not what he 
once was ; he is strangely perverted ; that custom, or 
habit, which soon becomes second nature, and often 
proves stronger to us than first nature, has so changed 
him that he is more a creature of art than of nature, or 
at least oi first nature. And though animal food was 
not necessary to him at first — perhaps not in accord- 
ance with his best interests — yet it has become so by 
long use ; and as a creature of art rather than of na- 
ture, he now seems to require it." 

This reasoning, at first view, appears very specious. 
But upon second view, we see it is wanting — greatly 
so — in solidity. It takes for granted, as I understand 
it, that what we call civilization, has rendered animal 
food necessary to man. But is it not obvious that the 
condition of things which is thus supposed to render 
this species of food necessary, is not likely to disap- 
pear — nay, that it is every century becoming more and 
more the law, so to speak, of the land ? Who is to stop 
the labor-saving machine, the railroad car, or the light- 
ning flash of intelligence? 

And do not these considerations, if they p -ove any 
thing, prove quite too much? For if, in the onward 
career of what is thus called civilization, we have gone 
from a diet which scarcely required the use of animal 
food in order to render it both oalatable and healthful, 
to one in who«e dishes it is generally blended in some 
one or more of its forms, must we not expect that a still 
further progress in the same course will render the 
same kind of diet still more indispensable? If flesh, 
fish, fowl, butter, cheese, eggs, lard, etc., are much 
more necessnr\' to us t\o'w,\.V\wt\ vV^'^ >NVi\^ ^i.vWw^^^d 


years ago, will they not be still more necessary a thou- 
sand years hence ? 

I do not see how we can avoid such a conclusion. 
And yet such a conclusion will involve us in very seri- 
ous difficulties. In Japan and China — the former more 
especially — if the march of civilization should be found 
to have rendered animal food more necessary, it has at 
the same time rendered it less accessible to the mass of 
the population. The great increase of the human spe- 
cies has crowded out the animals, even the domestic 
ones. Some of the old historians and geographers tell 
us that there are not so many domestic animals in the 
whole kingdom of Japan, as in a single township of 
Sweden. And must not all nations, as society pro- 
gresses and the millennium dawns, crowd out the animals 
in the same way ? It cannot be otherwise. True, there 
may remain about the same supply as at present from 
the rivers and seas, and perchance from the air ; but 
what can these do for the increasing hundreds of mill- 
ions of such large countries ? What do they for Japan ? 
In short, if the reasoning above were good and valid, it 
would seem to show that precisely at the point of civil- 
ization where animal food becomes most necessary, at 
precisely that point it becomes most scarce. 

These things do not seem to me to go well together. 
We must reject the one or the other. If we believe in 
a millennium, we roust, inevitably, give up our belief in 
animal food, at least the belief that its necessity grows 
out of the increasing wants of society. Or if, on the 
other hand, we believe in the increasing necessity of 
animal food, we must banish from our minds all hope 
of what we call a millennium, at least for the present. 



It is not at all uncommon for those who find them- 
selves driven from all their strong-holds, in this matter, 
to fly to the Bible. Our Saviour ate flesh and fish, say 
they ; and the Grod of the New Testament, as well as 
of the Old, in this and other ways, not only permitted 
but sanctioned its use. 

But, to say nothing of the folly of going, for proof of 
every thing we wish to prove, to a book which was 
never given for this purpose, or of the fact that in thus 
adducing Scripture to prove our favorite doctrines, we 
often go too far, and prove too much ; is it true that 
the Saviour ate flesh and fish ? Or, if this could be 
proved, is it true that his example binds us forever to 
that which other evidence as well as science show to 
be of doubtful utility? Paul did not think so, most 
certainly. It is good neither to eat flesh nor to drink 
wine, he says, if it cause our brother to ofiend. Did 
not Paul understand, at least as well as we, the pre- 
cepts and example of our Saviour? 

And as to a permission to Noah and his descendants, 
the Jews, to use animal food — was it not for the hard- 
ness of the human heart, as our Saviour calls it ? From 
the beginning, was it so ? Is not man, in the first chap- 
ter of Genesis, constituted a vegetable-eater ? Was his 
constitution ever altered ? And if so, when and where ? 
Will they who fly to the Bible for their support, in this 
particular, please to tell us ? 

But it is idle to go to the Bible, on this subject. I 

mean, it is idle to pretend to do so, when we mean not 

so much. Men who incline to wine and other alco- 

holic drinks, plead the ex^rc\^\e ;vud authority of the 


Bible. Yet you will hardly find a man who drinks 
wine simply because he believes the Bible justifies its 
use. He drinks it for other reasons, and then makes 
the foolish excuse that the Bible is on his side. So in 
regard to the use of flesh meat. Find a man who re- 
ally uses flesh or fish because the Bible requires him to 
do so, and I will then discuss the question with him on 
Bible ground. Till that time, further argument on this 
direction is unnecessary. 


But I must conclude this long essay. There is one 
consideration, however, which I am unwilling to omit, 
although, in deciding on the merits of the question be- 
fore us, it may not have as much weight — regarded as 
a part of the moral argument— on every mind, as it has 
on my own. 

Suppose the great Creator were to make a new world 
somewhere in the regions of infinite space, and to fit it 
out in most respects like our own. It is to be the place 
and abode of such minerals, vegetables, and animals as 
our own. Instead, howeverj of peopling it gradually, 
he fills it at once with inhabitants ; and instead of hav- 
ing the arts and the sciences in their infancy, he creates 
every thing in full maturity. In a word, he makes a 
world which shall be exactly a copy of our own, with 
the single exception that the 800,000,000 of free agents 
in it shall be supposed to be wholly ignorant in regard 
to the nature of the food assigned them. But the new 
world is created, we will suppose, at sunrise, in Octo- 
ber. The human inhabitants thereof have stomachs, 
and soon, that is, by mid-day or before night, feel the 
pangs of hunger. Now, what wil} they eat? 


The world being mature, every thing in it is, of 
course, muture. Around, on every hand, are corn- 
fields with their rich treasures ; above, that is, in the 
boughs of the orchards, hang the rich russets, pippins, 
and the various other excellent kinds of the apple, with 
which our own country and other temperate climates 
abound. In tropical regions, of course, almost every 
vegetable production is flourishing at that season, as 
well as the corn and the apple. Or, he has but to look 
on the surface of the earth on which he stands, and 
there are the potatoe, the turnip, the beet, and many 
other esculent roots ; to say nothing of the squash, the 
pumpkin, the melon, the chestnut, the walnut, the beech- 
nut, the butternut, the hazelnut, etc., — most of which 
are nourishing, and more or less wholesome, and are in 
full view. Around him, too, are the animals. I am 
willing even to admit the domestic animal — the horse, 
the ox, the sheep, the dog, the cat, the rabbit, the tur- 
key, the goose, the hen, yes, and even the pig. And 
now, I ask again, what will he eat? He is destitute of 
experience, and he has no example. But he has a 
stomach, and he is hungry: he has hands and he has 
teeth ; the world is all before him, and he is the lord 
of it, at least so far as to use such food in it as he 

Does any one believe that, in these circumstances, 
man would prey upon the animals around him ? Does 
any person believe — can he for one moment believe — 
he would forthwith imbrue his hands in blood, whether 
that of his own species or of some other ? Would he 
pass by the mellow apple, hanging in richest profusion 
every where, inviting him as it were by its beauties? 
Would he pass by Uvc fields, with their golden ears? 


Would he despise the rich products of field, and forest, 
and garden, and hasten to seize the axe or the knife, 
and, ere the blood had ceased to flow, or the muscles 
to quiver, give orders to his fair but affrighted compan- 
ion within to prepare the fire, and make ready the grid- 
iron or the spider ? Or, without the knowledge even 
of this, or the patience to wait for the tedious process 
of cooking to be completed, would he eat raw the pre- 
cious morsel ? Does any one believe this ? Can any 
one — I repeat the question — can any one believe it ? 

On the contrafy, would not every living human being 
revolt, at first, from the idea, let it be suggested as it 
might, of plunging his hands in blood? Can there 
be a doubt that he would direct his attention at first — 
yes, and for a long time afterward — to the vegetable 
world for his food ? Would it not take months and 
years to reconcile his feelings — his moral nature — to 
the thought of flesh-mangling or flesh-eating ? At least, 
would not this be the result, if he were a disciple of 
Christianity? Although professing Christians, as the 
world is now constituted, do not hesitate to commit 
such depredations, would they do so in the circum- 
stances we have supposed ? 

I am sure there can be but one opinion on this sub- 
ject ; although I confess it impossible for me to say 
how it may strike other minds constituted somewhat 
differently from my own. With me, this consideration 
of the subject has weight and importance. It is not 
necessary, however. The argument — the moral argu- 
ment, I mean — is sufficient, as it seems to me, without 
it. What then shall we say of the anatomical, the 
physiological, the medical, the political, the economical, 
the experimental, the Bible, the millennial, and the moral 


arguments, when united ? Have they not force ? Are 
they not a nine- fold cord, not easily broken ? Is it not 
too late in the day of human improvement to meet them 
with no argument but ignorance, and with no other 
weapon but ridicule f 

or A 


In the work of revising and preparing the foregoing volume for 
publication, the writer was requested to add to it a system of vege- 
table cookery. At first he refused to do so, both on account of the 
difficulty of bringing so extensive a subject within the compass of 
twenty or thirty pages, and because it did not seem to him to be 
called for, in connection with the present volume. But he has 
yielded his own judgment to the importunity of the publishers and 
other friends of the work, and prepai'ed a mere outline or skeleton 
of what he may hereafter fill up, should circumstances and the ne- 
cessaiy leisure permit. 

But there is one difficulty to be met with at the very threshold 
of the subject. Vegetable eaters are not so hard driven to find 
whereon to subsist, as many appear to suppose. For the question 
is continually asked, *^ If you dispense wholly with flesh and fish^ 
pray what can you find to eat ?" Now, while we are aware that 
one small sect of the vegetarians — ^the followers of Dr. Schlem- 
mer — eat every thing in a raw state, we are, for ourselves, full be- 
lievers in plain and simple cookery. That a potato, for example, is 
better cooked than uncooked, both for man and beast, we have not 
the slightest doubt. We believe that a system of preparing food 
which renders the raw material more palatable, more digestible, 
and more nutritious, or perhaps all this at once, must be legitimate, 
and even preferable — if not for the individual, at least for the race. 

But the difficulty alluded to is, how to select a few choice dishes 
from the wide range — short of flesh and fish — which (Jod and na- 
ture permit. For if we believed in the use of eggs when com- 
mingled with food, we should hardly deem it proper to go the 
whole length of our French brethren, who have nearly seven hun- 
dred vegetable dishes, of wh'ch eggs form a com^\i^w!L ^^asl\ \i^t. 


the wholo length even to which our own powers of invention might 
carry us ; no, nor even the whole length to which the writer of an 
English work now before us, and entitled " Vegetable Cookery," 
has gone — the extent of about a thousand plain receipts. We be- 
lieve the whole nature of man, and even his appetite, when unper- 
▼erted, is best served and most fully satisfied with a range of 
dishes which shall hardly exceed hundreds. 

It is held by Dr. Dunglison, Dr. Paris, and many of the old 
school writers, that all made dishes — all mixtures of food — are 
«^ more or less rebellious ;" that is, more or less indigestible, and 
consequently more or less hurtful. If they mean by this, that in 
spite of the accommodating power of the stomach to the individual, 
they are hurtful to the race, I go with them most fully. But I do 
not believe that all made dishes., to all persons, are so directly inju- 
rious as many suppose. God has made man, in a certain sense, 
omnivorous. His physical stomach can receive and assimilate, like 
his mental stomach, a great variety of substances ; and both can go 
on, without apparent disease, for a great many years, and perhaps 
for a tolerably long life in this way. 

There isj however, a higher question for man to ask as a rational 
being and as a Christian, than whether this or that dish will hurt 
him directly. It is, whether a dish or article is best for him — best 
for body, mind, and heart — best for the whole human nature — best 
for the whole interests of the whole race — best for time, and best 
for eternity. Startle not, reader, at this assertion. If West could 
properly say, *'I paint for eternity," the true disciple of Christ and 
truth can say, '*I eat and drink for eternity." And a hi^rher 
authority than any that is merely human has even required us to 
do so. 

This places the subject of preparing food on high ground. And 
were I to carry out my plan fully, I should exclude from a Chris- 
tian system of food and cookery all mixtures, properly so called, 
and all medicines or condiments. Not that all mixtures ai*e equally 
hurtful to the well-being of the race, nor all medicines. Indeed, 
considering our training and habits, some of both, to most persons, 
have become necessary. I know of many whose physical inherit- 
ance is such, that salt, if not a few other medicinal subsUmces, have 
become at least present necessaries to them. And to those mix- 
tures of substances closely allied, as farina with farina — meal of one 
kind with meal of another — I could scarcely have any objection, 
myself. Nature objects to incompatibles, and therefore I do ; and 
medicine, and all those kinds oi food -wVyqVi «t^ o^^^^^^ o^cLft \ft ^isi- 


Other, lire incompatible with each other. Wlien one is in the 
stomach, the other should not be. 

I have spoken of canying out my plan, but this I cannot now fully 
do. It would not be borne, till, as Lord Bacon used to say, *' some 
time be passed over.*' But, on the other hand, I am unwilling to 
give directions, as I did ten or twelve years ago, in my Young 
Housekeeper, such as shall pander to a perverted — most abomina- 
bly pei'verted — ^public taste. Man is made for progress, and it is 
high time the public standard were raised in regard to food and 

Although grains and fiiiits are the natm-al food of man, yet there 
are a variety of shapes in which the grains or fnrinacea may be 
presented to us ; and there arc a few substances fit for food which 
do not properly belong to either of these classes. I shall treat first 
of the different kinds of food prepared from grain or farinaceous 
substances ; secondly, of fruits ; thirdly, of roots ; and fourthly, 
speak of a few articles that do not properly belong to any of the 

While, therefore, as will be seen by the remarks already made, 
I have many things to say that the community cannot yet bear, it 
need not escape the observation of the most careless reader, that I 
aim at nothing less than an entire ultimate subversion of the present 
system of cookery, believing it to be utterly at war with the laws 
of God, and of man's whole nature* 


The principal of these ai*e wheat, oats, Indian corn, rice, rye, 
barley, buckwheat, millet, chestnuts, peas, beans, and lentils. They 
are prepared in various forms. 


The true idea of bread is thai jf coai'se or cracked and unbolted 
meal, formed into u mass of dough by means of water, and imme- 
diately baked in loaves of gi'eater or less thickness, according to the 

Some use bolt«d meal ; most raise oread by fermentation ; many 
use salt ; some saleratus, or carbonate of potash ; and, in the coun- 
try, many use milk instead of water to form the paste. I might 
also mention several other additions, which, like saleratus, it is be- 
coming fashionable to make. 

Ai) these things are a deDortare, gx^^iitot ot V^^^^sovgl^^xtc^^ 


idea of a bread ; and bread made with any of these changes, is so 
mnch the less perfectly adapted to the promotion of heahh, happi- 
ness, and longevity. 

Bolting is objectionable, because bread made from bolted meal, 
especially when eaten hot, is more apt, when the digestive powers 
are not very vigwous, to form a paste, which none but very strong 
stomachs can entirely overcome. Besides, it takes ont a part of 
the sweetness, or life, as it is termed, of the flour. They who say 
fine flour bread is sweetest, are led into this mistake by the force 
of habit, and by the fact that the latter comes in contact, more 
readily than coarse bread, with the papillae of the tongue, and 
seems to have more tast^ to it because it touches at more points. 

Raising bread by inducing fermentation, wastes a part of the 
saccharine matter ; and the more it is raised, the greater is the 
waste. By lessening the attraction of cohesion, it makes it more 
easy of digestion, it is true ; but the loss of nutriment and of {Mea- 
sure to the true appetite more than counterbalances this. Bakers, 
in striving to get a large loaf, rob the bread of most of its sweetness. 

Salt is objectionable, because it hardens the bread, and renders 
it more difficult of digestion. Our ancestors, in this country, did 
not use it at all ; and many are the families that will not use it now. 

Those who use salt in bread, tell us how flat it would taste with- . 
out it. This idea of flatness has two sources. 1. We have so long 
given our bread the taste of salt, as we have most other things, that 
it seems tasteless without it. 2. The flatness spoken of in an article 
of food is oftentimes the true taste of the article, unaltered by any 
stimulus. If any two articles need to be stimulated with salt, how- 
ever, it is rice and beans — bread never. 

If saleratus is used in bread where no acidity is present, it is a 
medicine ; or, if you please, a poison both to the stomach and intes- 
tines. If it meets and neutralizes an acid either in the bread-tray 
or the stomach, the residuum is a new chemical compound difliised 
through the bread, which is more or less injurious, according to its 
nature and quantity. 

Milk is objectionable on the score of its tendency to render the 
bread more indigestible than when it was wet with water, and 
perhaps by rendering it too nutritious. For good bread without 
the milk is already too nutritious for health, if eaten exclusively, for 
a long time. That man should not live on bread alone, is as true 
physically as it is morally. 

No bread should be eaten while new and hot — though the finer 
it is. the worse for health when thu9 eaten. Old bread, heated 


again, is less hurtful. But if eaten both new and hot, and with 
butter or milk, or any thing which soaks and iiUs it, the effect is 
▼ery bad. Mrs. Rowland, in her Economical Housekeeper, says 
much about ripe bread. And I should be glad to say as much, had 
I room, about ripe bread, and about the true philosophy of bread 
and bread-making, as she has. 

Section A. — Bread of the first order. 

This is made of coarse meal — as coarse as it can well be ground, 
provided the kernels are all broken. The grain should be weU 
washed, and it may be ground in the common way, or according to 
the oriental mode, in hand-mills. The latter mode is preferable, 
because you can thus have it fresh. Meal is somewhat injured by 
being kept long ground. 

If great pains is not taken to have the grun clean when ground, 
it needs to be passed through a coarse sieve, that all foreign bodies 
may be carefully separated. The hulls of corn, and especially the 
husks of oats and buckwheat, should also be separated in some way- 
In no case, however, should meal be bolted. Good health requires 
that we eat the innutritious and coarser parts as well as the finer. 

Receipt 1. — Take a sufficient quantity of good, recent wheat 
meal ;* wet it well, but not too soft, with pure water ; form it into 
thin cakes, and bake it as hard as the teeth will bear. Remember, 
however, that the saliva aids the teeth greatly, especially when you 
masticate your food slowly. The cakes should be very thin — ^the 
thinner the better. Many, however, prefer them an inch thick, or 
even more. 

Receipt 2. — Oat meal prepared in the same manner. Procure 
what is called the Scotch kiln dried oat meal, if you can. No mat- if it is manufactured in New England, if it is weD done. 

Receipt 3. — Indian meal cakes, otherwise called hoe cakes, or 
Johnny cakes, are next in point of value to bread made of wheat 
and oats. They are most healthy, however, in cold weather. 

Receipt 4. — Rye cakes come next. Warm instead of cold wa- 
ter is often used to wet all the above. Some even choose to scald 
the meal. Fancy may be indulged in this particular, only you 
must remember that warm water in warm weather may soon give 
rise, if the mass stands long, to a degree of fermentation, which, 
for the best bread, should be avoided. 

Receipt 5. — Barley meal bread comes next in order in the un- 

* Formerly called Graham meal. 


leavened series. Iq regard to this species of bread, however, I do 
not speak from experience, but from report. 

Receipt 6. — Of millet bread I know still less. Cakes made of 
it, as above, must certainly be wholesome. 

Receipt 7. — Buckwheat cakes are last in the series of the best 
breads. The meal is always too fine, and hence makes heavy 
bread, except when hot. Few use it without fermentation. 

Unleavened bread may be made as above, of all the various kinds 
of grain, finely ground ; but it is apt to be heavy, whereas, when 
made properly, of coarse meal, it is only firm, never heavy ; that is, 
it never has a lead-like appearance. They may make and use it 
who have iron stomachs. 

Section B. — Bread of the second order. 

This consists essentially of mixtures of the various coarse meals. 
True it is, that made or mixed food is objectionable ; but the union 
of one farinaceous substance with another to form bread, can hardly 
be considered a mixture. It is, essentially, the addition of farina to 
farina, with some change in the proportion of the gluten and other 

Reckipt 1. — Wheat meal and Indian, in about the proportion 
of two parts of wheat to one of Indian. 

Receipt 2. — Wheat meal and oat meal, about equal parts. 

Receipt 3. — Wheat meal and Indian, equal parts. 

Receipt 4. — -Wheat meal and rye meal ; two parts, quails, or 
pounds of the former to one of the latter. 

Receipt 5. — Rye and Indian, equal parts of each. 

Receipt 6. — Rye, two thirds ; Indian, one third. 

Receipt 7. — Wheat meal and rice. Three quarts of wheat 
meal to one pint of good clean rice, boiled till it is soft. 

Receipt 8. — Three parts of wheat meal to one of Indian. 

Receipt 9. — Four parts of wheat to one of Indian. 

The proportion of the ingredients above may be varied to a gi'eat 
extent. I have inserted some of the best. The following are ir- 
regulars, but may as 'svell be mentioned here as any where. 

Receipt 10. — Two quarts of wheat meal to one pou-nd of well 
boiled ripe beans, made soft by pounding or otherwise. 

Receipt 11. — Seven pounds of wheat meal and two and a half 
pounds of good, mealy, and well boiled and pounded potatoes. 

Receipt 12. — Equal parts of coarse meal from rye, barley, and 
buckwheat. This is chiefly un d in Westphalia. 

Reclipt 13. — Seven parts of wheat meal (as in Receipt 11), 


with two -pounds of split peas boiled to a soup, and used to wet the 

Receipt 14. — Wheat meal and apples, in the proportion of about 
three of the former (some use two) to one of the latter. The ap- 
ples must be first pared and cored, and stewed or baked. See my 
** Young Housekeeper," seventh edition, page 396. 

Receipt 15. — Wheat meal and boiled chestnuts ; three quaits 
of the former to one of the latter. 

Receipt 16. — Wheat meal, four quarts, and one quart of well 
boiled and pounded marrow squash. 

Receipt 17. — Wheat, corn, or barjey meal ; three quarts to one 
quart of powdered comfrey root. This is inserted from tJie testi- 
mony of Rev^^E. Rich, of Troy, N. H. 

Receipt 18. — Wheat meal, three pounds, to one pound of pouud- 
ed corn, boiled and pounded green. This is the most doubtful fonn 
which has yet been mentioned. 

Receipt 19. — Receipt 7 describes rice bread. Bell, in his work 
on Diet and Regimen, says the best and most economical rice bread 
is made thus : Wheat meal, thi*ee pounds ; rice, well boiled, one 
pound — wet with the water in which the rice is boiled. 

I wish to say here, once for all, that any kind of bread may be 
salted, if you will have salt, except the patented bread mentioned in 
the beginning of the next section, which is salted in the process. 
Molasses in small quantity may also be added, if preferred. 

Skction C. — Bread of the third kind. 

Of this there are several kinds. Those which are made by a 
simple effervescence, provided the residuum is not inj uncus, are 
best, and shall accordingly be placed first in order. Next will fol- 
low various kinds of bread made by the ordinary process of ferment- 
ation, salting, etc. 

Receipt 1. — Wheat meal, seven pounds; carbonate of soda or 
Baleratus* three quaiters of an ounce to one ounce ; water, two and 
three Quarter pints ; muriatic acid, 420 to 560 drops. Mix the 
soda with the meal as intimately as possible, by means of a wooden 
spoon or stick. Then mix the acid and water, and add it slowly to 
the mass, stirring it constantly. Make three loaves of it, and bake 
it in a quick oven. 

Receipt 2. — Wheat meal, one pound; sesquicarbonato of soda, 

* 1 shall use these terms indiscriminately, as they mean \n practxa 
the same thing. 



forty graiDS ; muriatic acid, fifty drops; cold water, half ^ a pint^ or 
a sufficient quantity. Mix in the same way, and with the same . 
caution, as in Receipt 1. Make one loaf of it, and bake in a quick 

Receipt 3. — Wheat meal, one quart ; cream of tartar, two tea- 
spoonfuls; saleratus, one tea-spoon^; and two .and a half teacups 
full of milk Mix well, and bake thirty minutes. If the meal is 
fresh, as it ought to be, the milk may be omitted. 

Receipt 4. — Coarse rye meal, Indian meal, and oat meal, 
may be formed into bread in nearly a similar maimer. So, in fiict, 
may fine meal and all sorts of mixtures. ,^ 

Receipt 5. — Professor SiUiman more than intimates, that car- 
bonic acid gas might be made to inflate bread, without either an 
efifervescence or a fermentation. The plan is, to force carbonic 
acid, by some means or other, into the mass of dough, or, as bakers 
call it, the sponge. I do not know that the experiment has yet 
been made. 

Receipt 6. — Coarse Indian meal may be formed into small, 
rather thin loaves, and prepared and baked as in Receipt 3. 

Let us now proceed to common fermented bread : 

Receipt 7. — Wheat meal, six pounds ; good yeast, a teacup 
full ; and a sufficient quantity of pure water. Knead thoroughly. 
Bake it in small loaves, unless you have a very strong heat. 

Receipt 8. — Another way: Wheat meal, six quarts; molasses 
and yeast, each a teacup full. Mould into loaves half the thickness 
you mean tliey shall be after they are baked. Place them in the 
pans, in a temperature which will cause a moderate fermentation. 
When risen enough, place them in the oven. A strong heat is 

Receipt 9. — Rye bread may be made in a similar way. It 
must, however, be well kneaded, to secure an intimate mixture 
with the yeast. Does not require quite so strong a heat as the 

Receipt 10. — Oat meal bread may be prepared by mixing good 
kiln dried oat meal, a little salt and warm water, and a spoonful of 
yeast. Beat till it is quite smooth, and rather a thick batter; cover 
and ]et it stand to rise ; then bake it on a hot iron plate, or on a 
bake stove. Be carefisl not to burn it. 

* Both these processes are patented m Great Britain. The bread thus 
retains its sweetness — no waste of its saccharine matter, and no residaam 
except muriate of soda or common salt. Sesquicarbonate of soda is made 
of three parts or atoms of the carbod c acid, ind two of the soda. 


Receipt 11. — Barley, or black bread, as it is called in Europe, 
makes a wholesome article of food. It may be fermented or un- 

Receipt 12. — Corn bread is sometimes made thus: Six pints 
meal, four pints water, one spoonful of salt ; mix well, and bake in 
oblong rolls two inches thick. Bake in a hot oven. 

It should be added to this division of my subject, that in baking 
bread sweet oil may be used (a vegetable oil) as a substitute for 
animal oil, to prevent the bread from adhering too closely. Or 
you may sift a quantity of Indian meal into the pans. If you use 
sweet, or olive oil, be sure to get that which is not rancid. Much 
of the olive oil of the shops is unfit to be used. 


Some have maintained that since man is made to live on grain, 
fruits, etc., and since the most perfect mastication is secured by 
the use of uncooked grains, it is useless, and worse than useless, to 
resort to cookery at all, especially the cookery of bread. I have- 
mentioned Dr. Schlemmer and his followers already as holding this 
opinion. Many of these people confine themselves to the use of 
uncooked gi-ains and fruits. They do not cook their beans and 
peas. Nor can it be denied that they enjoy thus far very good 

Now, while I admit that man, as an individual, can get along very 
well in this way, I am most fully persuaded that many kinds of fari- 
naceous food are improved by cookery. Of the potAto, I have al- 
ready, incidentally, spoken. But are not wheat and corn, and 
many other grains, as well as the potato, improved by cookery ? A 
barrel of flour (one hundred and ninety- six pounds) will make 
about two hundred and seventy pounds of good dry bread. It does 
not appear that the bread contains more water than the grain did 
from which it was made. Whence, then, the increase of weight 
by seventy-four pounds ? Is not the water — a part of it, at least — 
which is used in making bread, rendered solid, as water is in slack- 
ing lime ; or at least so incorporated with the flour or meal as to add 
both to its weight, and to its nutritious properties ? 

Or if, in the present infancy of the science of domestic chemis- 
try, we are not able to give a satisfactory answer to the question, is 
not an afiirmative highly probable ? Such an answer would give 
no countenance, I believe, to the custom of raising our bread, since 
the increase of weight in making unfermented cakes or loaves^ is 
about as great as in tlie case of fen lented ones. 


One of the strongest arguments ever yet brought agamst bread- 
making is, that it relieves us from the necessity of mastication. But 
to this we reply, that such cakes as may be made (and such loaves 
even) require more mastication than the uncooked grains. Pereira, 
in his excellent work on Diet, endeavors to support the doctrine 
that cooking bursts the grains of the farinacea, so as to bring them 
the better within the power of the stomach. This is specious, if 
not sound. In any event, I think it pretty certain, that though man 
can do very well on raw grains, yet there is a gain by cookery which 
more than repays the trouble. But though baking the flour or 
meal into cakes or bread, is the best method of preparation, there 
are other methods, secondary to this, which deserve our notice. 
One of these I will now describe. 

Section A. — Boiled Chrains. 

These require less mastication than those which are submitted 
to other processes ; but they are more easy of digestion, and to 
some more palatable, and even more digestible. 

Receipt 1. — ^Take good perfect wheat; wash clean, and boil till 
soft in pure soft water. Those who are accustomed to salt their 
food, use sugar, etc., will naturally salt and sweeten this. 

Receipt 2. — Rye or bailey may be pj-epared in the same way, 
but it is not quite so sweet. 

Receipt 3. — Indian corn may be boiled, but the process requires 
six hours or more, even after it has soaked all night, and there has 
been a frequent change of the water. And with all this boiling, 
the skins sometimes adhere rather strongly, unless you boil with 
them some ashes, or other alkali. 

Receipt 4. — Rice, carefully cleaned, and well boiled, is good 
food. Imperfectly boiled, it is apt to disorder the bowels. And so 
unstimulating is it, and so purely nutritious, that they who eat it 
exclusively, without salt or cuny, or any other condiment, are apt 
to become constipated. Potatoes go well with it. 

Reckipt 5. — Chestnuts, well selected, and well boiled, are highly 
palatable, gi'eatly nutritious, and easy of digestion. They are best, 
however, soon after they are ripe. 

Receipt 6. — Boiled peas, when ripe, either whole or split, make 
a healthy dish. They are best, however, when they have been 
cooked several days. When boiled enough, drain them through a 
sieve, but not very drj-. 

Some housekeepers soak ripe peas over night, in water in which 
they have dissolved a little sale rati. 3. If you boil new or unripe 
peas, be c^rr-'ful not \" ook them to much. 


Receipt 7. — ^Beans, whether ripe or green (unless in bread or 
pudding), are not so wholesome as peas. They lead to flatulence, 
acidity, and other stomach disorders. And yet, eaten in moderate 
quantities, when ripe, they are to the hard, healthy laborer very 
tolerable food. Eaten green, they are most palatable, but least 

Receipt 8. — Green corn boiled is bad food. Sweet corn, cook- 
ed in this way, is the best. 

Receipt 9. — ^Lentils are nutritious, highly so ; but I know little 
abotlt them practically. 

Section B. — Chains, etc,, in other forms. They may he baked, 
parched, roasted, or torrefied. 

Receipt 1. — Diy slowly, with a pretty strong heat, till they 
become so dry and brittle as to faU readily into powder. Corn is 
most frequently prepared in this way for food ; but this and several 
other grains are often torrefied for coffee. Care should be taken 
to avoid burning. 

Receipt 2. — Roasted grains are more wholesome. It is not 
usual or easy to roast them properly, however, except the chest- 
nut, as the expanded air bursts or parches them. By cutting 
thi'ough the skin or shell, this result may be avoided, as it ofteii is 
in the case of the chestnut. To roast well, they should be laid on 
the hearth or an iron plate, covered with ashes, and by building a 
fire slowly, all burning may be prevented. 

Receipt 3. — Corn and buckwheat are often parched, and they 
form, especially the former, a veiy good food. In South America, 
and in some semi-barbarous nations, parched corn is a favorite dish. 

Receipt 4. — Green corn is often roasted in the ear. It is less 
wholesome, however, than when boiled. Sweet corn is the best 
for either purpose. 

Receipt 5. — Of baking grains I have little to say, because I 
know little on that subject.* 


This species of farinaceous food is much used, and is fast coming 
into vogue. The term, in its largest sense, would include the un- 
leavened bread or cakes, of which I have spoken so freely in Di- 

* Keep butter aud all greasy substances away from every preparation 
of food which belongs to this division — especially from green peas, 
beans, corn, etc 


Vision 1. They are for the most part, however, made by the addi- 
tion of butter, eggs, aromatics, milk, etc., to the dough ; and in 
proportion as they depart from simple bread, are more and more 
unhealthy. I shall mention but a few, though hundreds might be 
named which would still be vegetable food, as good olive oil, in pre- 
paring them, may be substituted for butter. I shall treat of them 
under one head or section. 

Receipt 1. — Take of dough, prepared according to the £n^h 
patented process, mentioned in Division I., Section C, Receipt 1 
and Receipt 2, and bake in a thin form and in the usual manner. 

Receipt 2. — Fruit cakes, if people will have them, may be made 
in the same manner. No butter would be necessary, even to but- 
ter eaters, when prepared in this patented way. If any have 
doubts, let them consult Pereira on Food and Diet, page 153. 

Receipt 3. — Gingerbread may be made in the same way, and 
without alum or potash. It is thus comparatively harmless. 
Coai'se meal always makes better g'mgerbread than fine flour. 

Receipt 4. — Buckwheat cakes may be raised in the same gen- 
eral way. 

Receipt 5. — Cakes of millet, rice, etc., are said to have been 
made by this process ;. but on this point I cannot speak from ex- 

Receipt 6. — Biscuits, crackers, wafers, etc., are a species of 
cake, r*Qd might be made so as to be comparatively wholesome. 

Receipt 7. — Biscuits may be made of coarse corn meal, with 
the addition of an egg and a little water. Make it into a stiff paste, 
and roll very thin. 


These are a species of bread, only made thinner. They are usu- 
ally unfermented. I shall speak of two kinds — ^hominy and pud- 
dings proper. 

Section A. — Hominy, 

This is usually eaten hot ; but it improves on keeping a day or 
two. It may be warmed over, if necessary. 

Rkckipt 1. — Wheat hominy, or cracked wheat, may be made 
into a species of pudding thus : Stir the hominy into boiling water 
(a little salted, if it must be so), very gradually. Boil from fifteen 
minutes to one hour. If boiled too long, it has a raw taste. 

Rkc mpT 2. — Corn hominy, ov, as \t. \a sviwx^vvvwea called, samp. 
7 \vo quaits of hominy -, four quarla oY NNVjXex \ ^itw nnOX.'Cosnx.^^Vx^^ 


may rise ; then pour off the water through a sieve, that the hulls may 
separate. Pour the same water ag£un upon the hominy, stir well, 
and pour off again several times. Finally, pour back the water, add 
a little salt, if you use salt at all, and if necessary, a little more 
water, and hang it over a slow fire to boil. During the first 
hour it should be stirred almost constantly. Boil from three to 
six hours. 

Receipt 3. — Another way : Take white Indian corn broken 
coarsely, put it over the fire with plenty of water, adding more boil- 
ing water as it wastes. It requires long boiling. Some boil it for 
six hours the day before it is wanted, and from four to six the next 
day. Salt, if used at all, may be added on the plate. 

Receipt 4. — Another way still of making hominy is to soak. it 
over night, and boil it slowly for four or five hours, in the same 
water, which should be soft. 

There are other ways of making hominy, but I have no room to 
treat of them. 

Section B. — Puddings proper. 

These are of various kinds. Indeed, a single work I have before 
me on Vegetable Cookery has not less than 127 receipts for • 
dishes of this sort, to say nothing of its pancakes, fritters, etc. 1 
shall select a few of the best, and leave the rest. 

The greatest objection to puddings is, that they are usually swal- 
lowed in large quantity, unmasticated, after we have eaten enough 
of something else. They are also eaten new and hot, and with 
butter, or some other mixture almost as injurious. Some puddings, 
from half a day to a day and a half old, are almost as good for us as 

One of the best puddings I know of, is a stale loaf of bread, 
steamed. Another is good sweet kiln dried oat meal, without any 
cooking at all. But there are some good cooked puddings, I say 
again, such as the following : 

Receipt 1. — ^Boiled Indian pudding : Indian meal, a quart ; 
water, a pint ; molasses, a teacup full. Mix it well, and boil four 

Receipt 2. — Another Indian pudding. Indian meal, three pints ; 
scald it, make it thin, and boil it about six hours. 

Receipt 3. — Another of the same : To one quart of boiling 
milk, while boiling, add a teacup full of Indian meal ; mix well, and 
add a little molasses. Boil three hours in a strong heat. 

Receipt 4. — ^Hominy : Take a quart of milk and half a i^int of 


Indian meal ; mix it well, and add a pint and a half of cooked hom- 
iny. Bake well in a moderate oven, 

Rkckipt 5. — Baked Indian pudding may be made by putting to- 
gether and baking well a quait of milk, a pint of Indian meal, and 
a pint of water. Add salt or molasses, if you please. 

Rkceipt 6. — Oatmeal pudding: Pour a quart of boiling milk 
over a ])int of the best fine oat meal ; let it soak all night ; next 
day add two beaten eggs ; rub over, with pure sweet oil, a basin 
that will just hold it ; cover it tight with a floured cloth, and boil it 
an hour and a half. When cold, slice and toast, or rather dry it, 
and eat it as you would oat cake itself. 

This may be the proper place to say, that all coarse meal pud- 
dings are healthiest when twelve or twenty hours old; but are all 
improved — and so is brown bread — ^by drying, or almost toasting on 
the stove. 

Rkckipt 7. — Rice pudding: To one quart of new milk add a 
teacup full of rice, sweetened a little. No dressings are necessary 
without you choose them. Bake it well. 

Rkckipt 8. — Wheat meal pudding may be made by wetting the 
coarse meal with milk, and sweetening it a littl© with molasses. 
Bake in a moderate heat. 

Rkckipt 9. — Boiled rice pudding may be made by boiling half a 
pound of rice in a moderate quantity of water, and adding, when 
tender, a coffee-cup full of milk, sweetening a little, and baking, or 
rather simmering half an hour. Add salt if you prefer it. 

Rkckipt 10. — Polenta — Corn meal, mixed with cheese — grated, 
as I supjwse, but we are not told in what proportion it is used — 
baked well, makes a pudding which the Italians call polenta. It is 
not very digestible. 

Rkckipt 11. — Pudding may be made of any of the various kinds 
of inejil I have mentioned, except those conUiining rye, by adding 
from one fourth to one third of the meal of the comfrey root. See 
Division I. of this class, Section B, Receipt 17. 

Rkckipt 12. — Bread pudding: Take a loaf of rather stale bread, 
cut a hole in it, add as much new milk as it will soak up through 
the opening, tie it up in a cloth, and boil it an hour. 

Rkckipt 13. — Another of the same : Slice bread thinly, and 
put it in milk, with a little sweetening ; add a little flour, and bake 
it an hour and a half. 

Rkckipt 14. — Another still: Three pints of milk, one pound of 
bilker's bi'ead, four spoonfuls of su^ar, and three of molasses. Cut 
the bread in slices ; mtevpoae aievf x^vivci^^M^wji Ocia^'^^^\i^N3«^^Ti 


each two slices, and then pour on the milk and sweetening. If 
baked, an hour and a half is sufficient. If boiled, two or three 
hours. Use a tin pudding boiler. 

Rkceipt 16. — Rice and apple pudding : Boil six ounces of rice 
in a pint of milk, till it is soft ; then fill a dish about half full of ap- 
ples pared and cored ; sweeten ; put the rice over them as a crust, 
and bake it. 

Receipt 16. — Stirabout is made in Scotland by stirring oat meal 
in boiling water till it becomes a thick pudding or ponidge. This, 
with cakes of oat meal and potatoes, forms the principal food of 
many parts of Scotland. 

Rkceipt 17. — Hasty pudding is best made as follows : Mix five 
or six spoonfuls of sifted meal in half a pint of cold water ; stir it 
into a quart of water, while boiling ; and from time to time sprinkle 
and stir in meal till it becomes thick enough. It should boil half or 
three quarters of an hour. It may be made of Indian or rye meal. 

Rkckipt 18. — Potato pudding: Take two pounds of well boiled 
and well mashed potato, one pound of wheat meal ; make a stiff 
paste, by mixing well; and tie it in a wet cloth dusted with flour. 
Boil it two hours. 

Rkckipt 19. — Apple pudding maybe made by alternating a layer 
of prepared apples with a layer of dough made of wheat meal, till 
you have filled a tin pudding boiler. Boil it three hours. 

Rkckipt 20. — Sago pudding: Take half a pint of sago and a 
quai-t of milk. Boil half the milk, and pour it on the sago ; let it 
stand half an hour ; then add tlie remainder of the milk. Sweeten 
to your taste. 

Rkckipt 21. — Tapioca pudding may be prepared in a similar 

Rkceipt 22. — ^To make cracker pudding, to a quart of milk add 
four thick large coarse meal crackers broken in pieces, a little sugar, 
and a little flour, and bake it one hour and thirty minutes. 

Receipt 23. — Sweet apple pudding is made by cutting in pieces 
six sweet apples, and putting them and half a pint of Indian meal, 
with a little salt, into a pint of milk, and baking it about three hours. 

Reckipt 24. — Sunderland pudding is thus made: Take about 
two thirds of a good-sized teacup full of flour, three eggs, and a 
pint of milk. Bake about fifteen minutes in cups. Dress it as you 
please — sweet sauce is preferred. 

Receipt 25. — Arrow root pudding may be made by adding two 
ounces of arrow root, previously weU mixed with a little cold milk, 
to a pint of milk boiling hot. Set it on tte to«k\ \b\.\\.\»^^S^fcW!L^ 


twenty minntes, stirring it constantly. When cool, add three eggs 
and a littJe sugar, and bake it in a moderate oven. 

Receipt 26. — Boiled aiTow root pudding: Mix as before, only 
do not let it quite boil. Stir it briskly for some time, after putting 
it on the fire the second time, at a heat of not over 180 degrees. 
When cooled, add three eggs and a little salt. 

Receipt 27. — Cottage pudding: Two pounds of potatoes, pared, 
boiled, and mashed, one pint of milk, three eggs, and two ounces 
of sugar, and if you choose, a little salt. - Bake it three quarters 
of an hour. 

Receipt 28. — Snow balls: Pare and core as many large apples 
as there are to be balls ; wash some rice — about a large spoonful to 
an apple will be enough ; boil it in a little water with a pinch of salt, 
and drain it. Spread it on cloths, put on the apples, and boil them 
an hour. Before they are turned out of the cloths, dip them into 
cold water. 

Macaroni is made into puddings a great deal, and so is vermi- 
celli; but they are at best very indifferent dishes. Those who live 
solely to eat may as well consult " Vegetable Cookery," where they 
will find indulgences enough and too many, even though flesh and 
fish are wholly excluded. They will find soups, pancakes, omelets, 
fritters, jellies, sauces, pies, puddings, dumplings, tarts, preserves, 
salads, cheese-cakes, custards, creams, buns, flummery, pickles, 
syiTips, sherbets, and I know not what. You will find them by 
hundreds. And you will find directions, too, for prepaiing almost 
every vegetable production of both hemispheres. And if you have 
brains of your own you may invent a thousand new dishes every 
day for a long time without exhausting the vegetable kingdom. 


Pies, as commonly made, are vile compounds. The crust is 
usually the worst part. The famous Peter Parley (S. G. Groodrich, 
Esq.), in his Fu*eside Education, represents pies, cakes, and sweet- 
meats as totally unfit for the young. 

Within a few years attempts have been made to get rid of the 
crust of pies — the abominations of the crust, I mean — ^by using In- 
dian meal sifted into the pans, etc. ; but the plan has not succeeded. 
It is the pastry that gives pies their charm. Divest them of this, 
and people will almost as readily accept of plain ripe fruit, especially 
when baked, stewed, or in some other way cooked. 
As pies are thus oye^tlon^^\Ae, ^Ti^«te,>N\>ika3L^«.vaon^el race. 


partaking of the natui'e both of bread and fruit, and yet, as such, 
unfit for the company of either, I will almost omit them. I will 
only mention two or three. 

Receipt 1. — Squashes, boiled, mashed, strained, and mixed with 
milk or milk and water, in small quantity, may be made into a toler- 
able pie. They may rest on a thick layer of Indian meal. 

Receipt 2. — ^Pumpkins may be made into pies in a similar man- 
ner ; but in general they are not so sweet as squashes. 

Receipt 3. — Potato pie : Cut potatoes into squares, with one 
or two turnips sliced ; add milk or cream, just to cover them ; salt 
a little, and cover them with a bread crust. Sweet potatoes make 
fer better pies than any other kind. 

Almost any thing may be made into pies. Plain apple pies — so 
plain as to become mere apple sauce — are far from being very ob- 
jectionable. See the next Class of Foods. 


So far as fruits, at least in an uncooked state, have been used as 
^ood, they have chiefly been regarded as a dessert, or at most as a 
condiment. Until within a few years, few regarded them as a 
principal article — as standing next to bread in point of importance. 
In treating of these substances as food, I shall simply divide them 
into Domestic and Foreign. 


Section A. — The large fruits — Apple, Pear, Peach, Quince, etc. 

Receipt 1. — The apple. May be baked in tin pans, or in a 
common bake pan. The sweet apple requires a more intense heat 
than the sour. The skin may be removed before baking, but it is 
better to have it remain. The best apple pie in the world is a 
baked apple. 

Receipt 2. — It may be roasted before the fire, by being buried 
in ashes, or by throwing it upon hot coals, and quickly turning it. 
The last process is sometimes called hunting it. 

Rec eipt 3.^-It may be boiled, either in water alone, or in water 
and sugar, or in water and molasses. In this case the skin is often 
removed, that the saccharine matter may the better penetrate the 
body of the apple. 

Receipt 4. — ^It may also be pared and cored, and then stewed, 
either alone or with molasses, to form plain apple sauce— a com- 
paratively healthy dish. 


Receipt 5. — Lastly, it ma^p be pared and cored, placed in a deep 
vessel, covered with a plain crust, as wheat meal formed into 
dough, and baked slowly. This forms a species of pie. 

Receipt 6. — The pear is not, in every instance, improved by 
cookery. Several species, however, are fit for nothing, till mid- 
winter, when they are either boiled, baked, or stewed. 

The peach can hardly be cooked to advantage. It is sometimes 
cut up, and sprinkled with sugar and other substances. 

Receipt 7. — A tolerably pleasant sauce can be made by stewing 
or baking the quince, and adding sugar or molasses, but it is not 
very wholesome. 

Section B. — The smaller fruits. The Strawberry, Cherry, Rasp- 
berry, Currant, Whortleberry, Mulberry^ Blackberry, Bilberry, etc. 

None of these, so far as I know, ai-e improved by cookeiy. It is 
common to stew green currants, to make jams, presei-ves, sauces, 
etc., but this is all wrong. The great Creator has, in this instance, 
at least, done his own work, without leaving any thing for man to do. 

There is one genei-al law in regard to fruits, and especially these 
smaller fruits. Those which melt and dissolve most easily in the 
mouth, and leave no residuum, are the most healthy ; while those 
which do not easily dissolve— which contain large seeds, tough or 
stringy portions, or hulls, or scales — are in the same degi-ee indi- 

I have said that fruits were next to bread in point of impoitance. 
They are to be taken, always, as part of our regular meals, and 
never between meals. Nor should they be eaten at the end of a 
meal, but either in the middle or at the beginning. And finally, 
they should be taken either at breakfast or dinner. According to 
the old adage, fruit is gold in the morning, silver at noon, and lead 
at night. 


The more important of these are the banana, pine-apple, and 
orange, and fig, raisin, i?rune, and date. The first three need no 
cooking, two of the last four may be cooked. The date is one of the 
best — the orange one of the worst, because procured while gi'een, 
and also because it is stringy. 

Receipt 1. — The prune. Few things sit easier on the feeble 
or delicate stomach than the stewed prune. It should be stewed 
slowly, in very little wsiter. 


Receipt 2. — ^The good raisin is almost as much improved by 
stewing as the prune. 

I do not know that the fig has ever yet been subjected to the 
processes of modern cookery. It is, however, with bread, n good 
article of food. 

Fruits, in their ^'aices, may be regarded as the milk of adults and 
old people, but are less useful to young children and to the very old. 
But to be useful they must be perfectly ripe, and eaten in their 
season. Thus used, they prevent a world of summer diseases — 
used improperly, they invite disease, and do much other mischief. 

In general, fruits and milk do not go very well together. The 
baked sweet apple and whortleberry seem to be least objectionable. 



These are the potato, in its numerous varieties, the artichoke, 
the ground-nut, and the comfrey. Of these the Dotato is by far 
the most important. 

Section A. — The Common Potato. 

This may be roasted, baked, boiled, steamed, or fried. It is also 
made into puddings and pies. Roasting in the ashes is the best 
method of cooking it ; frying by far the worst. I take this oppor- 
tunity to enter my protest against all frying of^food. Com. Nich- 
olson, of revolutionary memory, would never, as his daughters in- 
form me, have a fiying-pan in his house. 

The potato is best when well rousted in the ashes, but also exci^l- 
lent when baked, and very tolerable when boiled or steamed. 

There are many ways of preparing the potato and cooking it. 
Some always pare it. It may be well to pare it late in the winter 
and in the spring, but not at other times. For, in paring, we lose a 
portion of the richest part of the potato, as in the case of paring 
the apple. There is much tact required to pare a potato properly, 
that is, thinly. 

Receipt 1. — ^To boil a potato, see that the kettle is clean, the 
water pure and soft, and the potatoes clean. Put them in as soon 
as the water boils.* When they are soft, which can be deter- 
mined by piercing them with a fork, pour off the water, and let 
them steam about five minutes. 

Receipt 2. — ^To roast in the ashes, wash them clean, then dry 

* Some prepare them, and soak them in water over the night. 


tliem, then remove the heated embers and ashes quite to the bottom 
of the fire-place, and place them as closely togedier as possible, but 
not on top of each other. Cover as quickly as possible, and fill the 
crevices with hot euibers and small coals. Let them be as nearly 
ef a size as possible, and cover them to the depth of an inch. Then 
build a hot fire over them. They will be cooked in from half an 
hour to three quarters of an hour, according to -the size and heat of 
the fire. 

Receipt 3. — Baking potatoes in a stove or oven, is a process so 
generally known, that it hardly needs descripdon. 

Receipt 4. — Steaming is better than boiling. Some fiy them; 
others stew them with vegetables for soup, etc. 

Section B. — The Sweet Potato, 

This was once confined to the Southern States, but it is now 
raised in tolerable perfection in New Jersey and on Long Island. 
It is richer than the common potato in saccharine matter, and prob- 
ably more nutritious ; but not, it is believed, quite so wholesome. 
StilLit is a good aiticle of food. 

Rkceipt 1. — ^Roasting is the best process of cooking these. 
They may be prepared in the ashes or before a fire. The last 
process is most common. They cook in far less time than a com- 
mon potato. 

Receipt 2. — Baking and roasting by the fire are nearly or quite 
the same thing as respects the sweet potato. Steaming is a little 
different, and boiling greatly so. The boiled sweet potato is, how- 
ever, a most excellent aiticle. 


These are far less healthy than the mealy ones ; and yet are 
valuable, because, like potatoes, they furnish the system with a 
good deal of innutritions matter, to be set off against the almost 
pure nutriment of bread, rice, beans, peas, etc. 

Receipt 1. — The beet is best when boiled thoroughly, which 
rt'quires some care and a good deal of time. It may be roasted, 
baked, or stewed, however. It is rich in sugar, but is not very 
easily digested. 

Receipt 2. — The parsnep. The boiled parsnep is more easily 
dissolved in the stomach than the beet; but my readers must 
know that many things which are dissolved in the stomach are 
nevertheless very imperfectly digested. 


Receipt 3. — ^The turnip, well boiled, is watery, but easily di- 
gested and wholesome. It may also be roasted or baked, and some 
eat it raw. 

Receipt 4. — The carrot is ripher than the turnip, but not there- 
fore more digestible. It may be boiled, stewed, fried, or made into 
pies, puddings, etc. It is a very tolerable article of food. 

Receipt 5. — ^The radish, &shionable as it is, is nearly useless. 

Receipt 6. — For the sick, and even for others, arrow root jellies, 
puddings, etc., are much valued. This, with sago, tapioca, etc., is 
most useful for that class of sick persons who have strong appe- 


Under this head I shall treat briefly of the proper use of a few 
substances commonly and very properly used as food, but which 
cannot well come under any of the foregoing classes. They are 
chiefly fouM in the various chapters of my Young Housekeeper, 
as well as in Dr. Pereira^s work on Food and Diet, under the heads 
of " Buds and Young Shoots," " Leaves and Leaf Stalks," " Cu- 
curbitaceous Fruits," and " Oily Seeds." 

Receipt 1. — Asparagus, well boiled, is nutritious and whole- 
some. Salt is often added, and sometimes butter. The former, 
to many, is needless ; the latter, to all, injurious. 

Receipt 2. — Some of the varieties of the squash are nutritious 
and wholesome, especially when boiled. Its use in pies and pud- 
dings is also well known. 

Receipt 3. — A few varieties of the pumpkin, especially the 
sweet pumpkin, are proper for the table. Made into plain sauce, 
they are highly valued by most, but they are best known as ingre- 
dients of pies and puddings. A few eat them when merely baked. 

Receipt 4. — ^The tomato is fashionable, but a spur apple, if equal 
pains were taken with it, and it were equally fashionable, might be 
equaUy useful. It adds, however, to natm*e*s vast variety ! 

Receipt 5. — Watermelons, coming as they do at the end of the 
hot season, when eaten with bread, are happily adapted (as most 

* In general, the appetites of the sick are taken av^ay by design. In 
each cases there should be none of the usual forms of indalgence. A lit- 
tle bread — the crust is best — is the most proper indalgence. If, however, 
the appetite is raging, as in a convalescent state it sometimes is, puddings 
and even gruels may be proper, because they busy the stomach without 
giving it any considerable return Ibr its labor. 


Other npe fruits are, when eaten in the same way, and at then 
own proper season) to prevent diseaje, and promote health and 

Rkckipt 6. — Muskmelons are richer than watermelons, but 
not more wholesome. Of the canteloupe I know but little. 

Rkckipt 7. — The cucumber. Taken at the moment when rip6 
— neither green nor acid — the cucumber is almost, but not quite as 
valuable as the melon. It should be eaten in the same way, re- 
jecting the rind. The Orientals of modern days sometimes boil 
them, but in former times they ate them uncooked, though always 
ripe. Unripe cucumbers are a modem dish, and will erelong go 
out of fashion. 

Rkckipt 8. — Onions have medicinal properties, but this should 
be no recommendation to healthy people. Raw, they are unwhole- 
some ; boiled, they are better ; fried, they are positively pernicious. 

Rkckipt 9. — ^Nuts are said to be adapted to man in a state of 
nature ; but I write for those who are in an artificial stato, not a 
natural state. Of the chestnut I have spoken elsewhere. Tlie 
hazelnut is next best, then perhaps the peanut and the beechnut. 
The butternut, and walnut or hickory-niit, ai*e too oily. Nor do I 
seo how they can be improved by cookery. 

Rkckipt 10. — Cabbage, properly boiled, and without condiments, 
is tolerable, but rather stringy, and of course rather indigestible. 

Rkckipt 11. — Greens and salads are stringy and indigestible. 
Bosiiles, they are much used, as condiments are, to excite or pro- 
voke an appetite — a thing usually wrong. A feeble appetite, say 
at the opening of the spring, however conKnon, is a gi'cat blessing. 
If let alone, nature will erelong set to rights those things, which 
have gone wrong perhaps all winter ; and then appetite will return 
in a natural way. 

But the worst thing about gi-eens, salads, and some other things, 
is, they are eaten with vinegar. Vinegar and all substances, I must 
again say, which resist or retard putrefaction, retard also the work 
of digc^stion. It is a universal law, and ought to be known as such, 
that whatever tends to preseiTe our food — except perhaps ice and the 
air-pump — tends also to interfere with the great work of digestion. 
Hence, all pickling, salting, boiling down, sweetening, etc., are objec- 
tionable. Pereira says, " By diying, salting, smoking, and pickUng, 
the digestibility of fish is greatly impaired ;" and this, except aa 
regards dryings is but the common docti'ine. I: should, however, 
be applied generally as well rs to fish. 

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FowuBB AHB WsvJf FmujOAXiom. 


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EXPEBIENCE IN Watee-cueb. A Fa- 

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